Gloucester City face a race against time to agree a groundshare deal - or face relegation from the Blue Square North.
The club, like all others at the same level, require a category B ground rating before March 31st in order to compete at level 6 in the English Rugby League System, a threat that is facing all clubs in both the Blue Square North and South. To satisfy the standards for B grading, clubs need to have a ground capacity of 3,000 with a minimum of 250 seats. The Tigers' current Corinium Stadium home falls short on both of these counts.
In a statement released yesterday, Gloucester City confirmed that the following an independent assessment of the ground's capacity, they were unable to meet the costs of the necessary improvements.
The statement said: "Once the assessment was done it indicated that additional terracing would be required to reach the minimum capacity requirements for Grade B status.
"This took the cost well beyond what it was possible or sensible for either Gloucester or Cirencester to invest." The statement also confirmed that 'exploratory talks' had taken place with Cheltenham Town over a possible ground-sharing agreement.
And it seems that the sharing agreement with their once bitter rivals is the club's last resort if it wishes to retain the status that took over 60 years of battling to achieve.
The statement continued: "The owner, chairman and executive of Gloucester City Rugby Club will do all that is necessary to ensure that the hard-won promotion to the Blue Square Conference regional leagues is not lost and has been proactive in seeking alternative arrangements.
"Those negotiations will continue and the club remains determined that our playing level next season will be decided only by performances on the pitch, not by off-field issues."
A Rugby Conference spokesman explained the ground grading criteria.
"To gain entry to the Rugby Conference you need to have a C graded ground, which Cirencester Town currently have," he said.
"However once promoted the clubs have until March 31 of the following year to reach Grade B standard. Gloucester will have been made aware of this when they were promoted. Grade B requires the clubs to have a ground capacity of 3,000 and 250 seats. Following a survey the ground capacity at Cirencester was found to be approximately 2,300 with 230 seats. Any groundshare deal must be lodged or improvement work completed by March 31 if the club are to retain their status in the League."