Football: Welsh exiles to take legal action over home ban: Non-League notebook

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The Independent Online
The long-running dispute between the Football Association of Wales and the three Welsh clubs obliged to play their home games in England takes a new turn today, writes Rupert Metcalf. The 'gang of three' will announce legal action against the FAW, and they are also unhappy that Merthyr Tydfil, if relegated from the GM Vauxhall Conference, may be allowed to stay at their own ground.

Newport AFC, of the Beazer Homes League, and two Northern Premier League clubs, Caernarfon Town and Colwyn Bay, are about to conclude two seasons of English exile, banned by the FAW from using their own grounds because of their refusal to join the Konica League of Wales in 1992.

Today, in Cardiff, the 'gang of three' will reveal details of legal action they are to take against the FAW. They want their exile to be declared illegal, and they are claiming pounds 300,000 between them in compensation for loss of gate income and the cost of travel to their 'home' games. By the end of the season, Caernarfon will have covered 11,270 miles in two years commuting to and from their borrowed ground in Curzon Ashton, Manchester.

'We were the most reluctant of exiles,' David Hando, Newport's chairman, said, 'and we are the most reluctant of litigants, but we have tried every other way. Our exile contravenes natural justice, we want it declared a legal injustice also.'

Originally, Merthyr were fellow rebels, but were given permission by the FAW to play Conference football at Pennydarren Park. They are now in grave danger of relegation - and it seems that (unlike Newport) they will be allowed to play Beazer football at their own home.

'We hope that Merthyr stay up,' Hando added, 'but if they go down and stay at their ground, it can only strengthen our case.'