WORCESTERSHIRE FA say Claines Lane’s floodlights will be up and running by Monday’s deadline – and it seems Worcester Raiders require little else to satisfy ground regulations until March.

An emailed response to Worcester News from county chief executive Nichola Trigg read: "Floodlights in and being tested this week."

Concern has grown on the back of delays to the installation of a 3G pitch, lights and new changing and office facilities with few clear signs of progress at the start of this month, despite work initially being scheduled to begin in May.

Neither Trigg nor football development manager Martin Collier, also directly involved in the project, have been made available to field questions on how development is progressing with Trigg's email stating it is “as per (the) conversation in August”.

At that time, Trigg said: “Our commitments to get the stand and lights completed by the end of September are on schedule, they are signed off and ordered. No one has told me it is not on track.”

READ MORE | Claines Lane development "on track", says county FA (August 2019) 

READ MORE | County FA explains why Claines Lane development had not started in July 2019

Raiders got promoted to non-league football’s sixth tier with the FA’s National League System requiring them to have floodlights “installed and in working order” by September 30 to avoid “a sanction being imposed by the league”.

Under normal circumstances that would be alongside compliance with the FA’s H grade, the minimum for entry to divisions at West Midlands (Regional) League (WMRL) Premier Division level.

Clubs must then attain the G grade by March 31 in the first season following promotion, which includes covered accommodation for 100 people, 50 of which must be seated and in one stand. Raiders will complete that part of the work.

National League System rules

However, Wendy Juggins, chairperson of the WMRL, said dispensation had been granted by the FA while Worcestershire FA, which runs the site and leases it to Raiders, completes work.

Raiders chairman Kevin Jenkins has previously stated his club will be putting in temporary provision for changing rooms and a clubhouse to bring about a homecoming after two months of away games.

That has included conceding home advantage to Pershore Town and for tomorrow’s match with league leaders Shifnal Town (3pm). Future fixtures against those opponents are still listed as being away.

“We have been informed by the chief executive of the Worcestershire FA that the lights will be up and operational by September 30,” said Juggins.

“As long as the rest of the ground is up to standard by March 31 next year then that’s fine with the dispensation given by the FA.

“As long as it complies with the relevant health and safety through the season, they have until March as far as we are concerned. When the FA has given dispensation it is out of the league’s hands."

While the WMRL is on paper in charge of any sanctions for missing Monday’s floodlight deadline, Juggins explained the FA would still ratify any punishment.

“It would be between the club, county and Football Association,” she added.

“All we can do is refer it back to the FA and put recommendations, whether they have to get another ground or whatever. At the end of the day it would be an FA decision.”

Worcester News is awaiting confirmation of any dispensation from the FA. Jenkins was unavailable for comment.