Newport Gwent Dragons chairman Martyn Hazell says WRU takeover only choice

Martyn Hazell
Martyn Hazell is chairman of Newport Gwent Dragons

Newport Gwent Dragons chairman Martyn Hazell has warned there is no alternative to the Welsh Rugby Union's proposed takeover of the region.

The WRU has confirmed it intends to take control of the region and buy Rodney Parade by 1 July.

The deal must be ratified by 75% of a Newport RFC shareholders' vote and Hazell wants them to back the plan.

"I am hopeful people see common sense. I would urge them to vote for the proposal," he told BBC Wales Sport.

The deal has been ratified by the boards of the WRU, Newport rugby club and the Dragons.

But without the backing of three quarters of the more than 1,000 rugby club shareholders who turn up for the vote, the deal cannot go ahead.

WRU proposals for taking over Newport Gwent Dragons
Change the region's name to Dragons - dropping Newport Gwent
Be committed to Newport RFC playing at Rodney Parade
Lay an artificial 4G pitch to cure water-logging problems
"Call the shots" on dealings with Newport County AFC, who signed a 10-year lease to play at Rodney Parade in 2013

There is set to be an extraordinary general meeting in April and Hazell has warned of the dangers of the deal not going through.

"The details have to be explained to the supporters exactly how things are," he added.

"The ones I have spoken to don't like the thought of it but realise there is no alternative and will support it.

"The alternative is financial disaster and receivership. If you haven't got the money to pay the wages that would be that.

"It would be the end of 150 years of rugby at Rodney Parade. That would be a disaster."

Deal gives rugby at Rodney Parade 'a chance'

The Dragons have been negotiating with the WRU over the takeover for the last six months.

"I find this a good deal after months of negotiations," said Hazell.

"We have handed over Rodney Parade and the Newport Gwent Dragons to the Welsh Rugby Union.

"They are going to put some money into the pitch, take over the running of the Dragons and give Newport the chance of staying at Rodney Parade.

"Regional rugby has not really worked for the last 14 years, but this is giving it a chance."

Overall debts will not be recouped

Hazell says he and fellow benefactor Tony Brown have kept the Dragons afloat over the last decade.

"Myself and Tony have given millions in some ways to try and keep rugby going at Rodney Parade," he added.

"Without us there wouldn't be any rugby here now, but we can't keep it going any longer, we are getting on in years.

Media playback is not supported on this device

Stuart Davies: No Newport Gwent Dragons deal leaves future 'bleak'

"When people decry what we are doing I think that's disgraceful."

Hazell insisted the duo would not be able to recoup their overall debts from the new deal.

"The money the union are paying would just about cover the Dragons debts, it would not cover mine and Tony's debts," said Hazell.

"We have to keep it running until 1 July which is going to be difficult."

Top Stories