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News story
TWO months after the merger between TNS and Oswestry Town was sanctioned verbally by Welsh soccer bosses, it appears the plan may be doomed.
Less than a week before the new Welsh Premier season kicks off, Saints' boss Mike Harris still awaits written ratification from either the FAW or UEFA, that the merged club would be able to represent Wales in European competitions from a new stadium over the border.
Harris made it a condition of the merger that the new side would take over Oswestry's right - as founder members of the FAW - to play in Europe from an English base.
However, the biggest barrier to the merger may yet be financial - in a final twist, the Welsh Premier are threatening to fine Oswestry Town 15,000 for late resignation from the League.
As TNS would be unwilling to stump up the cash, Oswestry could be forced to field a team in the League, or go out of business, even if the merger plan is approved officially.
Premier League secretary John Deakin says there would be no problem in slotting Oswestry back into the fixture list.
But Oswestry have no senior players and no manager, because they assumed they would be going out of existence when the deal was brokered and approved by their shareholders.
Former manager Dave Norman is now at Carmarthen Town and the other players are dispersed far and wide.
Town secretary James Bond told The Non League Paper last night that he was "shaken and stirred" at news the merger may fail. "We were told everything would be fine with the merger," he said.
"We only have a youth team and they'll get hammered every week if we put them up against Welsh Premier clubs."
Mike Harris says TNS will continue to plan a move over the border if the merger fails, and will fight the issue through the courts if necessary.
There is no prospect of further ground development at Treflan to meet Uefa criteria and Harris believes European competition law could well be on his side if he decides to take on the Welsh and European football authorities.

Barry in crisis
Meanwhile, TNS could be the only full-time outfit in the Welsh Premier this season as Barry Town's cash crisis deepens.
The proposed financial take-over by a group of local businessmen is threatened by former financial director Sanjay Patel's claim that the club owes him money. Full story

10 August 2021