THE new owners of Darlington FC have pleaded for leniency from the Football Association (FA).

Darlington FC 1883 (DFC 1883) urged football bosses not to relegate the team to the Northern League following its takeover of the club.

Fans must now wait until May 25 for a decision.

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DFC 1833 chairman Denis Pinnegar and board member Laura Drew, together with the club’s lawyer Andrew Cawkwell, travelled to Wembley to meet with FA officials who will decide where to place the club in the league pyramid.

Mr Pinnegar said that during a “convivial meeting” the FA explained which rules they had broken by failing to pay off the creditors, He added: “They then gave us a chance to plead our case and give some mitigation.

“We explained how we had tried to meet the FA criteria and get a company voluntary arrangement in place that would pay off the creditors.

“We also pointed out the efforts we had made to make sure that the club got to the end of the season and fulfilled its fixtures. We also confirmed that we are paying the players’ outstanding wages.”

Although there was no hint about which league the club would be placed in, Mr Pinnegar said that the FA indicated the new owners would be granted a playing licence.

The club hopes to be placed in the Evo-Stik League Northern Premier or Division One North.