The owner of Bristol City FC, Steve Lansdown, has been named as the majority shareholder of Bristol Rugby Club. The announcement comes after he financially helped the local rugby club from going out of business during the 2008/2009 season.
Bristol Rugby's chairman Chris Booy will remain in his position, alongside with Steve Gorvett, also continuing in his role of chief executive. Mr Booy said the club had already "seen the benefit" of help from Mr Lansdown before but added that no major changes would happen in the short-term:
"Going forward, it will very much be business as usual. Steve has in fact helped in supporting the club financially for a number of years now", he added. He also said that the club would continue to play at its "spiritual home", the Memorial Stadium (also home to Bristol Rovers FC) for at least one more season, but they will be looking at future options, given that both Bristol City and Bristol Rovers are planning moves to new grounds:
"Both the UWE (Rovers) site and Ashton Vale (City) are subject to planning permission so we need to see how that goes over the next year before making long-term plans," said Mr Booy.
Bristol City FC released a statement in which they said that Mr Lansdown's involvement with the rugby club would not affect how the club's management:
"Steve has backed Bristol City personally, professionally and financially for over 15 years, and he will continue to support the club's efforts to achieve success on and off the pitch."
Mr Landsdown said that the purchase is just a result of an increasing support that he gave to Chris Booy and the rugby club since February 2009:
"What we are doing now is cementing that relationship by turning it into an equity relationship and we are looking forward to continuing to build the club. It is important that the supporters know Bristol Rugby is financially stable and has the potential to grow into an even more successful rugby club in the future. That is what this city wants and needs. I love sport generally and I want to see sport in Bristol be successful across the board."
Mr Lansdown added:
"There will be great opportunities on the commercial side, no doubt, to bring both clubs together. That's obviously going to be looked at and it is part of the rationale for this. But my decision to become the majority shareholder of the rugby club in no way diminishes my commitment to Bristol City."