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Time running out for groundshare move?

First published in Dragons South Wales Argus: Photograph of the Author by

RUGBY and football officials are in a race against time as they work to iron out the sticking points that could scupper a Rodney Parade groundshare.

Newport County chairman Chris Blight has set a deadline of tomorrow if the deal to share the venue with Newport Gwent Dragons and owners Newport RFC is to go ahead and the Football League cut-off date is the end of the month.

There is will on all sides to come to an agreement but several issues remain problematic.

The Argus understands that among them are the split of proceeds from food and drink sales, ground modifications required by the Football Conference, advertising hoardings, signage and pitch maintenance.

None of the issues are considered to be insurmountable and steps have already been taken to address some concerns.

Rugby bosses have held talks with Nottingham regarding their lightweight posts and the turnaround after fixtures.

This season they played their Championship fixture with London Welsh just minutes after Notts County had taken on Bury at their Meadow Lane home.

Talks between Rodney Parade chiefs and the Welsh Rugby Union this week are believed to have gone well.

“I think anything like this always throws up plenty of issues and it’s just a matter of talking them through,” said Newport chairman and Dragons board member Will Godfrey.

“In the end it builds to a crescendo when dotting the Is and crossing the Ts and it’s a case of finding out what’s important to the various parties.

“All those bits and pieces are just the start but if we can get an agreement in principle then I am confident that plenty of the logistical problems can be sorted out when we come to them.”

Another spanner in the works is Pontypool’s legal battle with the Welsh Rugby Union.

Pooler are fighting the decision to leave them out of a revamped Premiership and take on the Union at the High Court in the final week of June.

That means Newport are unlikely to find out their fixtures for the coming campaign until mid-July at the earliest, just weeks before the start of County’s season.

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