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The New Saints look at moving to Chester's Deva Stadium

The New Saints managing director Mike Harris
TNS official Mike Harris is looking at other options as well

The New Saints have applied to play at Blue Square Premier strugglers Chester City's Deva Stadium next season.

It follows the refusal by Welsh Grounds Improvement to grant aid for further development of their Park Hall ground.

TNS had asked for funding towards a new 1,000-seat stand ahead of playing in the new 12-club Welsh Premier League.

"Chester is one of the options we're looking at to ensure we can compete at the highest level," managing director Mike Harris told BBC Radio Shropshire.

Upgrading the current seating arrangements at Park Hall would allow the club to play in the new league, but Harris expressed his "disappointment and frustration" at being turned down for the grant aid, describing the refusal as "short-sighted".

He said: "We want to move forward in the long term, not just face a quick fix."

The club would also look at the possibility of ground-sharing with other Welsh Premier League sides while they try to find ways of attracting funding for the Park Hall development - which could run to £1m.

However, The New Saints will not be moving their administrative and social base away from Oswestry, Harris insisted.

The Chester matter will be considered by the Football Association of Wales, but the geography of the situation makes it more complicated.

The club's Park Hall stadium at Oswestry is in England, but has been recognised by Fifa as Welsh in footballing terms because of the old Oswestry Town club's prominent role in setting up football in Wales in the 19th century.

Chester's Deva Stadium actually straddles the England-Wales border, but the club falls under the administration of the English FA.

The matter is potentially complicated even more by Chester City's current financial struggles.



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