BARNET chairman Tony Kleanthous has dismissed suggestions from Wealdstone that he is frustrating their efforts to discuss a groundshare between the two clubs at The Hive.
Wealdstone want to exercise a clause written into the lease at Barnet’s new home, allowing them to play at the Prince Edwards Playing Fields site at reasonable commercial terms.
The lease on their current ground in Ruislip expires in 2018, but suggestions they are being ignored by Barnet are wide of the mark according to Kleanthous.
“They asked if they could play here and were told they could,” Kleanthous said.
“They were told we didn’t want to make any profit from it and they just had to pay their costs and they said they couldn’t afford to. They were told that we can’t pay their costs for them and that was it.”
Stones chairman Howard Krais is eager to discuss the terms of a prospective groundshare between the clubs, but Kleanthous believes that such talk is premature.
“They are asking us these questions before we’ve put the stands up,” he said. “They wanted to know exactly what the cost would be, but how are we supposed to know? We haven’t even finished building it yet.”
The Barnet chairman has also moved to reassure residents over reports that Super League side London Broncos could move to The Hive are ‘premature’.
“We speak with lots of clubs – rugby, football and even with England netball – so it’s too premature to say whether any deals get done or not,” he explained.
“At the moment, we are just trying to finish off what has been a very fast-tracked building project and we are trying to respond to the needs of residents, who are our first priority. We want to give them all the support we can.”
Kleanthous is disappointed his Wealdstone counterpart has made public his frustration after a statement was released on their website, but insists his door remains open to the club.
“It’s a bit of a shame that they want to conduct their business in that fashion,” he said.
“I really don’t know where this is coming from, why it’s necessary and why they would do it. You’d really have to ask them what their motives are.
“We’ve got nothing but goodwill towards every single club and we have goodwill towards them, and if they want to talk to us, they can come and talk to us.”
Wealdstone have defended their decision to go public with their disillusionment at the process and insist they are merely looking to engage in a dialogue with Kleanthous.
Stones director Quentin Fox said: “He has left us little choice [but to go public] because he won’t engage with us.
“Our motives are straightforward – to establish on what terms we are to be permitted to play at PEPF and to negotiate over those terms.
“The building is nearly up and Tony Kleanthous must have a very good idea of what the costs are.
“To be absolutely clear, we are not asking Tony Kleanthous to subsidise the costs of running Wealdstone FC, but we are certainly asking for a fair deal in terms of the costs of playing at PEPF based on the size and level in senior football of our club.”
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