Crusaders consider Newport move

Celtic Crusaders are considering a temporary relocation to Newport until their new stadium in Bridgend is completed.

The Welsh franchise would play at Rodney Parade, home of Newport Gwent Dragons.

The news comes among rumours of severe financial difficulties for the Crusaders, which have been anxiously denied by club officials.

Plans for a new 15,000-seater stadium just outside Bridgend on the Island Farm development are in place, but will not be in place for the next round of franchise applications.

The move to Newport would allow the Crusaders to meet stadium criteria, after chairman Leighton Samuel admitted that Brewery Field fell short of Super League standards.

In addition, the franchise has lost ownership of Brewery Field, which has been owned by Bridgend Ravens RUFC and Bridgend Town FC since March 2009, shortly after the Crusaders began life in the top flight.

“We must go forward with a viable facility and the stadium at the Brewery Field was not ideal at the time of the initial bid, it didn’t meet certain criteria and we have to meet that criteria this time,” said Samuel.

“Rodney Parade certainly meets that criteria, especially in terms of capacity. It is an option. They do want us there and we would love to play out of there as it is a nice facility and is to be redeveloped.”

“We would play out of Newport until the new stadium is built then we would come back to Bridgend.”

Crusaders chief executive Mike Turner admitted that the club needed an average attendance of 4,500 to break even this year, but they have only reached that mark on three occasions.

“The difference from the heartlands is that we are promoting a new sport and we need to get people involved in the club,” said Turner.

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