THE owners of York City are launching a bid to take over York City Knights.

JM Packaging Ltd, which has a 75 per cent shareholding in the football club and is owned by City chairman Jason McGill, is contacting Knights supremo John Guildford to make an open offer with “a view to providing a solution to the club’s current difficulties”.

A statement stresses that the plan is not a take-over of the Knights by the football club, and the rugby league outfit would have their own board of directors.

However, it assures fans “finance is available where necessary to provide every assistance” for the club to “attain objectives” and “flourish in future years”.

The rugby league club kick off their season with a League One Cup tie at London Skolars on Sunday, but they are currently homeless and have had no training base throughout pre-season after being sidelined from the community stadium project.

They moved out of Huntington Stadium late last year so it could be redeveloped as an arena to house both them and the football club, but were then ejected from the scheme, with City of York Council, which is leading the project, blaming Guildford for the breakdown in talks.

A meeting is set to take place tomorrow between the council and new directors at the Knights, who have been brought in to take over stadium negotiations from Guildford, but JM Packaging believes it can provide another option.

A statement from the company said: “We have become increasingly aware of concerns regarding York City Knights players’ inability to prepare appropriately for the imminent launch of their season.

“From our own experiences in respect of York City, the players’ focus clearly needs to be firmly on achieving promotion, for their own benefit and for the loyal fans, with a view to playing at a higher level in future years.

“Accordingly, following an approach from the Knights Independent Supporters’ Society for possible assistance regarding the club’s problems and their meeting with City of York Council’s community stadium project team last week, the company has decided to make an open offer to the Knights chairman and 100 per cent shareholder John Guildford, with a view to providing a solution to the club’s current difficulties.”

It added: “In this respect John Guildford was reported in the Press as ‘willing to consider stepping down... but he fears that would then mean there is no club at all’, before concluding, ‘As it stands now the attraction of the club for any buyer is now nil’.

“The board of JM Packaging would be prepared to work constructively towards a solution with a view to achieving a conclusion to the present uncertainties, and thereby enable the rugby club to fully concentrate on future success on the playing field.”

The statement added time was “of the essence”: “With a lack of consistent training facilities for the players at present inevitably hampering preparation for the new season, both fans and the Rugby Football League will need to be assured the club is capable of fulfilling their fixture obligations for 2015, which JMP will be able to deliver if the financial aspects are quickly assessed and agreed.”

JM Packaging insist the move would not amount to being a take-over by the football club.

It said: “The rugby club would have its own board of directors who have an established track record as fans coupled with business and other skills that will be required in order to be responsible for the successful operation of all aspects in connection with rugby league activities, although the parent company will ensure finance is available where necessary to provide every assistance with the directors attaining objectives.

“Our existing arrangements with the football club have a lengthy track record and considerable financial investment has been made over the years to ultimately enable League football to return to York, which we consider demonstrates our commitment. We intend to provide the foundations upon which the Knights may build with a view to flourishing during future years.”

JMP said directors appointed at the Knights would not “receive financial reward for their services" and that some “economies of scale may be achievable” if the two clubs worked together, including in both clubs’ charitable foundations and community departments.

As regards the stadium scheme - and probably with the Knights directors’ impending meeting with the council in mind - the JM Packaging statement added: “York City worked constructively with City of York Council to reach agreements for the future of professional and community sport together with leisure facilities in the city that has already enabled agreements to be signed in connection with the project.

“JM Packaging firmly believes that with a similar positive outlook it should be possible to ensure York City Knights are in a position to participate in what project manager Tim Atkins described last week as ‘a fantastic opportunity to move forward and compete at a higher level’.

“Accordingly it would be the intention of the directors appointed to the board of York City Knights to recommence negotiations with City of York Council with a view to ensuring the club’s involvement with the stadium project may proceed.”