Rodney Parade talks go on as deadline nears

7:20am Tuesday 29th May 2012

By Andrew Penman

TALKS between Newport County AFC, Newport RFC and Newport Gwent Dragons over a groundshare at Rodney Parade are continuing with all sides optimistic that an agreement can be reached by Thursday.

That is the deadline set by the Football Conference authorities for all members of the Blue Square Bet Premier division to decide where they will be playing their home matches in the 2012/13 season.

If a deal cannot be done with the city’s rugby clubs, County will remain at their Spytty Park home, where the playing surface has been labelled “embarrassing” by chairman Chris Blight.

But the Exiles chief is upbeat after a day of meetings at Rodney Parade yesterday, which involved a representative from the Conference as well as the three main parties.

No further meeting is scheduled for today but work is ongoing and progressing well, according to Blight.

“I am confident it will happen and I’d be really disappointed if it didn’t,” said Blight.

“I take my hat off to the people at Rodney Parade because they are working as hard as we are to get this done.

“It has been very complicated and there are still hurdles to get over but their enthusiasm has not withered at all.”

The main issue is integrating three lots of fixtures into the schedule at the ground owned by Newport RFC and run by Rodney Parade Ltd.

Blight added: “At Spytty it was just Llanwern and ourselves to consider but with three teams it makes it that bit harder.

“There is enthusiasm on all sides that we can work the issues out by 5pm on Thursday but if not it will be plan B.”

Any agreement reached would have to be rubber-stamped by the Dragons board of directors, with a board meeting understood to be arranged for this afternoon.

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