YORK City Knights' under-fire owner, John Guildford, has stepped down as chairman.

The club's majority shareholder, who has been frozen out of community stadium talks in recent months after a major disagreement with project leaders City of York Council, has revealed he actually stood down last month at the request of the local authority, to enable the new board to get the homeless club back into the stadium scheme.

Those talks are ongoing, with Guildford saying he was optimistic the parties can come to agreement "in the next 24 hours" - in other words before the planning application for the new 8,000-seater arena goes in front of the council's planning committee on Friday.

It is unclear whether Guildford is to remain as majority shareholder in the Knights.

The council have yet to comment.

The community stadium project was supposed to see the Knights share York City's Bootham Crescent ground while their council-owned former Huntington Stadium home was being redeveloped as a stadium for both clubs. However, they have begun their 2015 season homeless after being sidelined from the scheme, with the council stating in January it would not work with Guildford again.

Guildford said: "I can confirm that I stood down as chairman of York City Knights on February 12, 2015, at the request of City of York Council to enable the new board to reopen negotiations on the contracts that were on the table in October 2014 and withdrawn on November 12, which I thought were unacceptable.

"The new board are working with the council to agree to the terms of the contracts and are hopeful they can come to an amicable agreement in the next 24 hours."

The council has not yet confirmed those dates. However, Guildford's name was not in the list of club officials in the match-day programme for the Knights' opening - and so far only - home game of this season, the iPro Sport Cup defeat to Newcastle on March 15, which was played at York RUFC.

The only directors named on the board in that publication were the four businessmen who were appointed last month to effectively take over stadium negotiations.

They are Stephen Knowles, Dave Baldwin, Neil Jennings and Gary Dickenson.

Those new directors have so far revealed little on how stadium talks were progressing.

One of them, Dickenson, said earlier this month that "constructive and friendly" meetings had taken place "which will hopefully see us reach a positive conclusion soon".

Be he added then that both parties had agreed not to release "anything about the negotiations publicly until we have some resolution one way or another".

York City's owners, JM Packaging, a month ago issued an "open offer" to take over the Knights, as revealed by The Press.

Guildford has so far offered no comment on whether he was considering that offer.