ABINGDON Town's landlords have responded to claims their 'ridiculous' demands over the lease for their ground forced the club to withdraw from their division.

The Abbotts will not play in Uhlsport Hellenic League Division One East next season after they could not reach an agreement with Irama Sports over the Culham Road site.

The Singapore-based company, which allegedly has links with legendary Liverpool striker Ian Rush, bought the ground for £300,000 late last year.

But in a statement on Monday night, The Abbotts claimed negotiations stalled because Irama's demands made it 'impossible to move forward' and they had to make a 'devastating decision'.

Some of the community teams who use the Culham Road ground have been allowed to stay on, but Irama claimed in a lengthy statement that the club had let ‘unauthorised groups’ use the facilities.

“Our intentions since we arrived have been to help support the local community and have no intention of using any football facilities for building any properties on site,” the statement began.

“Their (Abingdon’s) own chairman and committee requested to not have to pay to use the facilities – citing Covid causing understandable difficulties, but resulted in proceeding to take turnover from the bar and again sublet the facilities to unauthorised groups.

“We further wish to inform that Abingdon Town FC had no lease at the site and no insurance.

“Also, no food license and (they) continue to run the club in this way without listening to our concerns.

“The club only stopped serving food and beverage(s) once the council intervened due to a rat infestation."

When asked about his links to Irama by Sky Sports, Rush said: “I’m a great admirer of grassroots football, that’s where I came from.

“From my point of view, the legal team are on the case but one thing I will promise everyone is that the truth will come out.”

Abingdon’s issues continue a difficult few years, after they narrowly avoided collapse in late 2018 due to financial problems.

Their statement came hours after Isthmian South Central League side Whyteleafe withdrew from their division for the same reason.

Irama paid £495,000 for the club’s Church Ground in 2020 and allegedly ‘refused to negotiate a new lease or licence agreement’, according to the Surrey outfit.