Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Basingstoke Town Football club future in doubt over stadium row

The Camrose
Image caption The Camrose stadium has been home to the Dragons for more than 70 years

The future of a non-league football club is in doubt amid a row over the sale of its stadium.

The owner of Basingstoke Town's Camrose stadium, Rafi Razzak, is trying to sell the site and said he had made the club a "generous offer" to help it move.

But club chairman Terry Brown said it was effectively being "evicted".

Volunteers claim Mr Razzak had reduced the club to "rack and ruin", which he has denied. The club is to use Winchester's ground for the new season.

Mr Razzak had invested in excess of £2m in the club but in 2016 revealed he wanted to end his financial support and wanted to recover his loans through the redevelopment of the stadium site.

The Southern League team wants to play matches at nearby Winklebury, but Mr Brown said Mr Razzak should provide money "up front" to help bring the facilities there up to Football Association standards.

"We need a home. We have a wonderful opportunity - this club could grow into a healthier community-based club," said Mr Brown.

"I want to a make sure Basingstoke has a football club and it survives."

Image caption Rafi Razzak promised to write off his £2m investment in the club

Mr Razzak said he was "really upset the facts have been distorted".

"It is ridiculous for them to expect me to put in more money than I have. I've promised to hand the club over debt-free and provide £250,000 as long as they are viable.

"That means I'm writing off all my investment - I think that's a very generous offer from me."

He said he was waiting on planning consents on the Camrose before releasing funds to the club.

The club will use Winchester FC's ground where it will kick off the new season on 17 August against Barnstaple.

Mr Brown said it will cost £500 a game to use the ground with the club's only revenue coming through ticket sales. He added about £65,000 had been raised by supporters through loans to keep the club afloat.

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