1. ITV Report

Newport Gwent Dragons put up for sale in bid for new investment

Rodney Parade will not form part of any sale of the Dragons Photo: Andrew Matthews/PA

The Chairman of the Newport Gwent Dragons says any sale of the club would not allow a move away from its Rodney Parade home, as the search begins for new investors to the Pro 12 outfit.

Martyn Hazell has also promised to write-off any debts owed to him as a condition of any sale leaving the club effectively debt free.

It’s also understood that the board and 50% owners the Welsh Rugby Union will also not pursue a fee for the buyout of their shares to try and improve the proposition to possible investors.

The decision to sell the club comes after a meeting of the Dragons board in which it was decided that new investment was needed in order to try and close the gap, both financially and on the pitch, between the Dragons and the three other Welsh regions, as well as to help alleviate the financial pressure from Europe’s top leagues in England and France.

But just who will want to buy a club with few assets of it’s own as well as mounting financial pressures is a point that may take some time answer.

One thing that will not be allowed to happen however is for a new backer to move the club elsewhere, according to Hazell, despite an apparent lack of return on any money invested, in the current structure.

“Rugby’s got to stay here that’s a definite’ he said.

“Newport’s been here since 1875 so that’s got to stay, that’s a priority.

‘It’s not going to be a building site. We’re not going to let it go for somebody to come and build flats and houses and things.

‘We built this stand and everything for the Dragons really and for Newport RFC. They are a Gwent team, they should stay and play here.

‘We wouldn’t let anybody else come here, put a couple of quid in and take it away from here. We wouldn’t allow that.

“We would write off a fair chunk of it [debt owed] to make it a viable position for somebody to take over.

“I think it’s time it has new blood. I’m getting on, Tony Brown is getting on, it’s time for a new board and a new challenge for somebody else. I think we’ve done our bit.

“We’re hoping that they will come forward. If they don't’ come forward then we’ll have to have another strategy.

“If somebody comes in here and has got new ideas, new blood, younger people, it might make it work. I mean, the other three regions seem to be losing money quite well as well. We’re all in the same boat.

“Let’s see. Lets hope somebody does come along. This white knight over the mountain with big pannier bags, lets hope he arrives.