DRAGONS chairman David Buttress says Newport RFC have to consider whether Rodney Parade is suited to them if an increase to paying £2,500 per game at the historic ground is too much.

The Black and Ambers sold the famous venue, where they have beaten New Zealand (pictured below), South Africa and Australia, to the Welsh Rugby Union in the summer of 2017 as part of the governing body's takeover of the Dragons.

Newport RFC, who retain revenue from ticket and bar sales, were initially asked to pay a sum of £700 per match but that has risen to a reported £2,500.

The operating cost for a Newport RFC fixture – which includes groundstaff and pitch preparation, stewarding, kitchen staff and players' food, utilities and matchday planning – is just over £3,000.

South Wales Argus:

The matter is set to be discussed at the Black and Ambers' annual general meeting on tomorrow evening and some supporters have expressed their disappointment at the increase on social media.

However, Buttress, who is confident of taking the Dragons back into private ownership, believes it is a fair deal.

"For Newport RFC to continue to operate at Rodney Parade the realities are that they will have to cover the cost of being there," he said.

"We are not asking for profit, they will have to cover the cost. If they genuinely can't cover the cost, then I would say to their fans and committee that they really need to think long-term about what the right sort of venue is for them.

"Is a professional venue right for you if this is too much money for a stadium with a state-of-the-art pitch?

"If that's not worth the money then you should probably have to think about what's best for the future, because you won't get it cheaper and you won't get a better operational team."

Rodney Parade is home to the Dragons, Newport RFC and Newport County while the Football Association of Wales has also hired the ground this season to host women's and under-19s international fixtures.

The Black and Ambers will this season play 11 home fixtures in the Premiership, suffered a home defeat to Carmarthen Quins in the WRU National Cup and did not qualify for the cross-border competition with Scottish rivals.

Buttress says that the Dragons will no longer be able to cover losses of Black and Ambers fixtures under the orders of the governing body.

South Wales Argus:

"The WRU agreement made it clear, and it's been made clear to the Ospreys, the Scarlets and the Blues in relation to Bridgend, Llanelli and Cardiff, that as a regional franchise we are not able to subsidise our Premiership teams," he said.

"We were all given a very clear message at a board meeting that after this season we are not able to provide subsidies."

Heavy use of the pitch led to the installation of a £750,000 hybrid Desso surface two years ago, with expensive renewal likely in the coming years which could lead to another rental increase.

Newport RFC are holding their AGM in the Business Suite at Rodney Parade tomorrow, starting at 7pm, and have encouraged all shareholders to attend.