A NEWPORT football team has found itself unable to use pitches at its home ground - despite paying thousands of pounds a year to play there.

The dry weather over the summer has caused huge cracks to appear in some of the pitches at the home of Newport Corinthians FC in Coronation Park, threatening injury or postponements.

There have already been some minor injuries because of the poor state of the pitches, with club officials concerned about the youth teams.

The pitches are maintained by Newport City Council, with the club paying fees in order to use the pitches.

While the club have tried to maintain the pitches as best they can, it has got to the point where club officials are uncomfortable having their teams play on the pitches.

South Wales Argus:

Craig Leonard, club secretary at Newport Corinthians, said: "We had a very dry summer and the pitches have formed craters with big cracks and gaps.

"We've tried to maintain it as best we can, it's about pride in the pitches at Coronation Park.

"It's just getting difficult at the moment because we're finding that I don't really want to have our team playing on some of these pitches down there.

"You can put your foot down some of the cracks down there, there's potential for a bad twist to happen.

"We've found ourselves reversing most of the fixtures so far.

South Wales Argus:

"I want to make it safe so we don't have any issues coming up, such as a fractured ankle or even something worse."

The club is one of the bigger teams in Newport, with four senior teams and various age-grade teams.

The issue has progressed to the point that referees are declaring that the pitches are not playable.

Injury worries are the main concern, with Mr Leonard worried about players who hurt themselves potentially disrupting their work outside of football.

It is the youth players that Mr Leonard feels particularly strongly about protecting

The club pay for the privilege of calling Coronation Park home, with Mr Leonard saying costs "aren't far off £4,000 to £5,000" per season, so being unable to use the pitches is doubly frustrating.

It appears that the council were caught out by how dry and hot the summer was, with the cracks in the pitches unable to be repaired in the usual way.

And at the moment the only answer appeared to be to change venues.

A Newport council spokesman said: "The pitches at Coronation Park have always been affected by some post-summer cracking linked to soil composition.

"This is usually remidiated with soil infill throughout the season, but the cracks never fully disappear until the ground is saturated.  

"This year however, after the extremely hot summer, the cracks are too large to repair in the usual way. This has meant that two of the four pitches have not been able to be used this season.

"As hotter summers are anticipated, we intend to look at potential solutions and what investment is required to make these pitches playable for as long as possible.

"In the interim, we will always try to accommodate fixtures at other sites within Newport, particularly those linked to the Gwent County Leagues."