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Dartford reprieved from relegation after cash-strapped Salisbury City are relegated from Conference Premier

By Steve Tervet

Dartford will play Conference Premier football next season after being reprieved from relegation.

Financial problems at Salisbury City mean they have been relegated from the division and placed in Conference South, allowing the Darts back into the Premier Division.

Dartford manager Tony Burman Picture: Andy Payton
Dartford manager Tony Burman Picture: Andy Payton

The matter had rumbled on all week but a statement from the league on Friday evening finally cleared things up.

It said: "The club (Salisbury) has failed to meet the requirement to settle all football creditors in cleared funds by 5pm Thursday, 12th June 2014. Furthermore, it has also failed to provide a financial bond of £50,000 by the same time and date.

"These elements constitute two of four requirements unanimously set by members of the board of the Football Conference Ltd, in attendance and eligible to vote, on Friday, 6th June which, if fulfilled, would enable the club to retain its membership of the Conference National division.

"If unfulfilled the club was advised at the meeting it would be liable to be expelled from the competition and the company under Article 5.2 or be relegated.

"At a board meeting today (13 June) the directors considered various issues relating to the club's financial stability, in particular the club's failure to provide the bond and its failure to settle all its football creditors by the due date.

"The directors in attendance at the meeting, and eligible to vote, unanimously agreed to invoke the latter part of its previous decision and relegate Salisbury City FC from the Conference Premier to Conference South.

"Furthermore, if a bond of £50,000.00 (or a bank guarantee) is not deposited, and the football creditors have not been settled in cleared funds, by 5pm on Friday, 4th July 2014, the club will be expelled from the competition and the company.

"The consequence of today's decision means Dartford FC will be reprieved from relegation to Conference South and will be replaced in the constitution of this division by Salisbury City."

Relegated from the Premier Division on April 21, following their 3-2 defeat to Tamworth, Dartford had been preparing for life back in Conference South next season.

But now, almost two months on, they've been handed a second chance in non-league’s top flight.

A statement on the club's website said: "After receiving a statement from the Conference confirming that we have been reprieved from relegation and that we will be competing in the Conference Premier next season, Dartford FC are now ready to prepare for the new season.

"This will obviously mean certain changes to the decisions already made for next season, both on and off the field, and after our scheduled board meeting on Monday evening, we hope to announce what those changes may be.

"We thank our supporters for their understanding during these uncertain times."

One change is likely to concern Darts captain Elliot Bradbrook, who would have left the club at the end of the season if they’d managed to avoid relegation.

Bradbrook has signed a new contract at Princes Park but he’s spoken previously about how hard he found juggling work commitments in London and the long away trips with Dartford in Conference Premier.

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