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.

Comments (6)

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10:13am Thu 24 May 12

Missing Somerton says...

In the good old days Newport always managed to alternate their fixtures with the County and vice versa so why can't they do it now!

As has been said the Dragons never play on a Saturday afternoon anyway!
In the good old days Newport always managed to alternate their fixtures with the County and vice versa so why can't they do it now! As has been said the Dragons never play on a Saturday afternoon anyway! Missing Somerton
  • Score: 0

10:18am Thu 24 May 12

ncfcr says...

All this red tape is petty nonsense. Do what's right for the City of Newport, as without the paying public neither of these 'companies' would exist.

The customer is always right, give us what we want!
All this red tape is petty nonsense. Do what's right for the City of Newport, as without the paying public neither of these 'companies' would exist. The customer is always right, give us what we want! ncfcr
  • Score: 0

3:06pm Thu 24 May 12

Robert Shillabeer says...

It is not petty nonsense as it will be a legally binding agreement that meets both the WRU requirements and those of the football authorities. It is important that the agreement is mutually of benefit to both sports and meets the ground standards laid down for football which are different to rugby. It seems that these requirements are easy to meet and it is now a matter of agreeing the split of costs and revenue along with catering and other forms of refreshment and of course playing time. All these are agreeable to both sides it seems and the agreement is almost there. A few more days won't harm anything as long as it meets the deadline of next Friday for registering with the football authorities, lets hope it can be agreed in time. Rodney Parade is a natural venue for sport (although I prefer it was only Rugby) and will be of benefit to both parties, hopefully a good future is around the corner for all three sports teams.
It is not petty nonsense as it will be a legally binding agreement that meets both the WRU requirements and those of the football authorities. It is important that the agreement is mutually of benefit to both sports and meets the ground standards laid down for football which are different to rugby. It seems that these requirements are easy to meet and it is now a matter of agreeing the split of costs and revenue along with catering and other forms of refreshment and of course playing time. All these are agreeable to both sides it seems and the agreement is almost there. A few more days won't harm anything as long as it meets the deadline of next Friday for registering with the football authorities, lets hope it can be agreed in time. Rodney Parade is a natural venue for sport (although I prefer it was only Rugby) and will be of benefit to both parties, hopefully a good future is around the corner for all three sports teams. Robert Shillabeer
  • Score: 0

9:18am Fri 25 May 12

ncfcr says...

I stand corrected. It would be a big plus for the City of Newport if this happens though. It's a pity that it is not in the Council's interest to chip in an amount and move things along, as the potential boost to the local economy would surely benefit them as well.
I stand corrected. It would be a big plus for the City of Newport if this happens though. It's a pity that it is not in the Council's interest to chip in an amount and move things along, as the potential boost to the local economy would surely benefit them as well. ncfcr
  • Score: 0

11:29am Fri 25 May 12

Robert Shillabeer says...

Newport Council are unable to put any money out to support either Newport RFC, The dragons or Newport County as they are a new council and have to look at the books before they can give money away. As a founder share holder of Newport County and a supporter who went to all 'home' games at Didcot and Morton in Marsh I would like to see all those involved reach a mutually beneficial agreement and we must let them do it. I don't see this as a case of gaining any advantage other than centralising sport of good quality in one easy place.
Newport Council are unable to put any money out to support either Newport RFC, The dragons or Newport County as they are a new council and have to look at the books before they can give money away. As a founder share holder of Newport County and a supporter who went to all 'home' games at Didcot and Morton in Marsh I would like to see all those involved reach a mutually beneficial agreement and we must let them do it. I don't see this as a case of gaining any advantage other than centralising sport of good quality in one easy place. Robert Shillabeer
  • Score: 0

9:23pm Fri 25 May 12

East Newport Dave says...

It all makes financial sense but we are talking about 3 teams who are all struggling. Let's not think that this will be some sort of magic wand. Newport has an unfortunate recent track record of economic and sporting failure.
It all makes financial sense but we are talking about 3 teams who are all struggling. Let's not think that this will be some sort of magic wand. Newport has an unfortunate recent track record of economic and sporting failure. East Newport Dave
  • Score: 0

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