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Sale set for Salford ground share

Rugby Union

Sale Sharks are poised to announce a ground-sharing move with Super League club Salford City Reds.

The Sharks have been linked for some time with a switch to the new £26million City of Salford Stadium, which opened earlier this year, and have called a press conference at the ground on Wednesday morning "to make a major club announcement".

Sale have spent the last nine years at Stockport's Edgeley Park after moving from the club's Heywood Road base but are thought to have struck a deal with Peel Holdings and Salford City Council, the joint owners of the 12,000-seater stadium at Barton, just off the M60 motorway.

Premiership entry rules stipulate that all top-flight clubs have to register their declared ground for the following season by March 31, a deadline that passed at the weekend.

Sale have the option of developing Edgeley Park, which they own, but have identified the City of Salford Stadium as the base from which to re-launch the club as a major force in Europe.

The move to Barton is likely to prompt a re-branding as the Sharks look to tap into the Manchester conurbations and grow their crowds.

Although the City of Salford Stadium was scaled down from initial plans, the capacity can be increased from 12,000 to 20,000 with further development.

The move is expected to leave tenants Stockport County with sole use of Edgeley Park, which will remain in the hands of Sale owner Brian Kennedy.

Salford, whose crowds so far at their new home have been disappointing, hovering below the 6,000 mark, are set to welcome the move.