Harrogate Town: Doncaster Rovers groundshare for EFL newcomers

General view of Harrogate Town's Wetherby Road ground
Harrogate Town's move to Doncaster will only be temporary as the synthetic pitch at Wetherby Road is replaced

Harrogate Town will begin their first season in the English Football League sharing a ground with League One side Doncaster Rovers.

Harrogate, who won the National League promotion final at Wembley on Sunday, must replace the synthetic pitch at their Wetherby Road ground with grass.

EFL rules state all matches must be played on grass surfaces.

"We'll have to relocate for what's looking like the first month or so," manager Simon Weaver said.

Harrogate have saidexternal-link the agreement will stay in place until 10 October.

Doncaster's Keepmoat Stadium is a 42-mile drive from Harrogate's home ground, further away than the likes of Huddersfield Town, Bradford City and Leeds United.

They would be the second team in the EFL to groundshare next season with Coventry City continuing to play their games at Birmingham City's St Andrew's after a long-running dispute with the owners of the Ricoh Arena.

"The 3G surface has been a brilliant facility for not just us, but the local community and it's grown our fan base," said Weaver, who hopes a lot of the club's community coaching can move from the stadium to a nearby school which also has a synthetic pitch.

Maintaining a grass surface at Wetherby Road will cost the club an additional £20,000 a year.

The cost of upkeep, along with the cost of removing the synthetic pitch and replacing it with grass, will be met by the club through increased funds brought in by being in the EFL.

"It's something we have to deal with," Weaver told BBC Radio 5 Live.

"We're fortunate that the Football League grant is far more substantial than the National League grant. That eases the pain of losing the income that's derived from the 3G."

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