The EFL are yet to receive a request from Barnsley to stage matches away from Oakwell - following a day when revelations sparked a furious response within the town.
On Monday, sources told Sportsmail that the Championship club, locked in a row over the purchase of the historic ground, had spoken to other EFL sides with a view to playing fixtures elsewhere – including at two grounds in Lancashire.
The move may well be a high stakes attempt to ramp up the pressure on both the local council and the club’s former owners, each of whom own a 50 per cent share of the stadium.
Barnsley have held talks with other EFL clubs about a controversial move away from Oakwell
One insider with knowledge of the situation has suggested that the stadium purchase issue is a smokescreen and that the threat of a move is more likely a play to reduce rent fees and secure investment in the ground from the local authority.
Any such switch – which would be highly controversial – would need the green light from the EFL board. And it is understood that no such permission has yet been requested.
The news has been greeted with outrage from large sections of the club’s support. And those emotions have been echoed by politicians.
MP and Mayor of the Sheffield City Region, Dan Jarvis, said he was ‘deeply concerned’ by the story. ‘Barnsley FC has been the beating heart of our community and town centre for over 130 years,’ he added. ‘
Oakwell is our home; it’s where we play and it’s where we must stay.’ Jarvis added that he would do ‘everything I can’ to keep the club at its spiritual home.
The Championship club's owners have failed in an attempt to buy a half share of the stadium
‘It is of the utmost importance that these matters are resolved as quickly and amicably as possible,’ he said. ‘This distraction is last thing we need as we begin the 2020/21 Championship campaign.’
Jarvis’s comments were echoed at the town hall, where Sir Steve Houghton CBE, leader of Barnsley Council, released a statement in which he said the authority was ‘shocked and dismayed’ at the ‘potential relocation of Barnsley Football Club’.
Coun Houghton added: ‘For the last 133 years, Barnsley Football Club has been a significant part of our borough, and we'll do all we can to make sure professional football is maintained in Barnsley.’
Barnsley are co-owned by Chinese businessman Chien Lee and his US associate Paul Conway. The majority shareholders claim they have been frustrated in their attempts to buy the stadium, although the council insist there have been no negotiations between the two parties on the matter.
In what is a complex situation, the Cryne family, who also own 20 per cent of the club, have taken legal action against the current owners over £2.75m they claim they are yet to have been paid following the 2017 sale of the club.
Barnsley declined to comment. The Tykes are next at Oakwell on September 26 against Coventry City, who ironically are playing their home matches in Birmingham following a row with the landlords of the Ricoh Arena.