Why Chichester City FC face battle for survival

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Chichester City FC say their future is under threat because the district council won’t grant them a lease.

The club have warned that the city of Chichester could find itself without a senior football club if they do not get a lease soon their Oaklands Park premises.

The document would enable them to open their new clubhouse – finished a year ago – and start generating the income they need to survive.

The lack of a lease has seen funds dry up and the team struggle. They were on the fringes of the relegation battle at one stage.

The club’s directors believe CDC will not issue the lease because it is not happy with the make-up of the board. The council says it needs more information from the club before it can grant a lease.

A statement by the board of directors said: “With the 2010-11 season over it should be our job to start planning for 2011-12, with a list of actions to undertake to ensure it is successful.

“However, it is difficult to plan the development of the club as we still don’t know whether we will be provided with a lease from CDC.

“The new clubhouse was handed over to the previous chairman and board in July 2010 and even with a new board of directors in place from October 2010 there is still no lease from the council.

“Without a lease we are risking the existence of two of the county’s oldest senior clubs (Chichester City and Portfield Utd, who amalgamated in 1999).

“We cannot sub-lease the first-floor room to a business and the physio rooms to earn money to pay for the expenses a county league club will incur. With no income, the survival and development of the club will be seriously threatened.

“We cannot understand why they will not supply a lease. We held an EGM recently to confirm the shareholders were happy with the directors to manage the company ... at the request of CDC.

“All we want is the chance to start work on a project which will develop football for all sections – senior men’s, under-18s, ladies and youth – in the community and create a club that local supporters and residents will be proud of.

“We are facing an uphill battle to be ready for the new season. But if we get a lease soon we just might be able to rescue the situation.

“There have been many mistakes made by the club and the council over the past few years, that is a fact. We want to draw a line under the past and move forward.”

The directors said the council could help produce the sort of club envisaged many years ago. Last season, City’s first team ended in mid-table while the reserves, under-18s, ladies and youth teams all did well.

A council spokesman said: “We need proof from the organisation they meet the requirements of the council to manage the community’s assets. We have been in regular contact with Chichester City and Portfield United Football Club representatives since last autumn asking for this information.

“Unfortunately, to date we have not been provided with the information required. Discussions are ongoing.”