West Waterford soccer club facing eviction after 28 years

A West Waterford soccer club, facing eviction from its home ground after 28 years, is hoping to purchase its existing playing pitch.

The club began leasing the grounds from owners Dungarvan Crystal for an annual rent of €1,000 in the late 1980s. The pitch was included in part of a 3.5-acre site owned by the crystal production company.

The factory closed in 2009, but receivers Deloitte have dismissed the agreement as non-binding and declined rent.

Dungarvan AFC, however, continued to use the playing surface.

The site, meantime, was purchased by the Dungarvan Crystal Sport and Leisure Group in 2015.

“We’d have paid rent but nobody approached us and we didn’t even know the owners until last February”, said Dungarvan AFC secretary David Walsh.

The club also renovated structures around the pitch that had become prone to anti-social activities.

Dungarvan AFC, formed in 1966, manages 22 teams across various levels.

“We really needs three pitches,” said Mr Walsh, “but we could divide the Crystal pitch in two.”

With approximate annual running costs of €90,000, the club survives on sponsorship, membership contributions and income from rental arrangements with schools and community organisations.

Dungarvan AFC said it had been indicated any commercial options were dependent on the site being vacated by the end of this month. The chairman is unsure of the site or the pitch’s valuation some estimates point to “something around €100,000”.

He said if they club fails to acquire the pitch, “we will have to seek a second pitch somewhere else or consider losing some teams”.

Inviting locals, businesses and present and past members to help through various initiatives, the club has launched life membership at €1,000, five-year lottery ticket at €500, five-year pitch perimeter sigh for €500 or donations.

See www.clubwebsite.co.uk/dungarvanunitedafc

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