LEAGUE bosses admit they took a risk in allowing Northwich to host visiting teams at the Victoria Stadium this season.

The club was evicted a fortnight ago when agents selling land on which the ground is built gave it three days’ notice to move out after accepting an offer from a chemicals manufacturer based nearby.

Thor Specialities (UK) Ltd now owns the nine-acres plot.

It leaves Vics, currently fourth in the Northern Premier League’s top tier, looking for a pitch on which to play their remaining home matches this season.

“Sometimes decisions must be made that are in the interest of a member club, the competition and football in general,” said a league source.

The Guardian understands that league officials knew about a clause in Vics’ accord with finance experts from Deloitte that, if activated, could force the Wincham-based outfit to move.

But they expected Vics’ owner Jim Rushe, via his Northwich Victoria Developments (NVD) Ltd firm, to complete a deal to buy the ground last September.

It is not known if, or when, they knew of Thor’s interest.

The league’s management committee called off Vics’ scheduled encounter with Kendal in August when Rushe did not complete a deal to buy the ground before a deadline, leading to Northwich breaking competition rules.

They had been warned the previous month that the team would not be able to play on their own pitch if he remained a prospective – and not actual – owner of the land.

League rules state that clubs must own their ground, share it with another elsewhere, or have a long-term lease from a landlord.

The club’s week-by-week agreement with Deloitte, appointed by Clydesdale Bank to recover more than £1m it lent to the company of Vics’ former chairman Mike Connett, was not enough.

Vics were subsequently charged for failing to fulfil a fixture, the punishment for which was a fine.

“At no time did we enter into a lease with Northwich Victoria Developments (NVD) Ltd or the club,” said a spokesman for Deloitte.

“In August last year we merely granted NVD a licence to occupy the ground [for the rest of the season] that neither offered the licensee security of tenure or exclusive possession.

“The licence was terminable by either party on three days written notice.”

Yet league officials still allowed Northwich to play at the ground they have called home since 2005.

Rushe had agreed in May to a temporary move to neighbours Witton Albion if he did not buy the Victoria Stadium, but league officials later accused him of reneging on that arrangement.

That accord is no longer on the table.