SHROPSHIRE Council has reiterated it is prepared to take legal action to force The New Saints to pay back £70,000 it says is owed to the authority.

The Welsh champions received a grant of £80,000 from the council to build a new stand to allow European matches to be played at Park Hall.

As part of the conditions of the grant, Saints were to pay back the money over a defined period of time once community schemes had been highlighted for funding.

Shropshire Council and the Oswestry Economic Board were to have helped identify schemes to receive the cash.

But only £10,000 was ever paid, and the Economic Board then closed down.

Saints were never asked to contribute any more - and that defined period of time has now ended.

The agreement between the unitary authority and The New Saints has been the subject of an internal council audit - conducted by the council - as a complaint was made to police that 'criminal activity' had taken place.

Clive Wright, Shropshire Council's chief executive, said: "The police have looked into this matter and they can find no evidence of criminal activity.

"Shropshire Council’s internal audit team have produced an excellent report giving full and open disclosure of the available evidence which enables conclusions to be drawn, and again no wrongdoing was found.

"A redacted version of this report has been made available. This is an unusual step, as the council does not routinely air disputes with individuals or groups via the media. However, due to the strong and repeated media interest and because of potentially misleading statements made with no supporting evidence, the council chose to be open and transparent. The unredacted report has been made available to all elected members.

"Elected members of the council have made allegations and some of these have gone in the press. The monitoring officer of the council has asked for evidence relating to these allegations, but none has been forthcoming.

"There is a call from certain political parties, supported by some elected members, for an inquiry into the TNS issues. However, it is the view of council senior officers there is nothing to be gained from this and it would not be in the public interest as the chronology of events recording what happened are clear, the police have no evidence of any crime and our audit finds no wrongdoing.

"Currently the council is in dispute with TNS over the repayment of part of the grant.

"It is the view of senior officers this is the only matter outstanding based on the facts presented.

"The council believes £70,000 should be repaid within the terms of the grant agreement and we understand TNS disagree and contest this.

"The council is in correspondence with TNS to understand their argument.

"However, unless new and further evidence emerges to which the council is open to receiving, the council will progress to legal proceedings which we believe will be conclusive in settling the dispute."

The New Saints have insisted they have followed the terms of the agreement with the council and do not have to repay the money. Club owner Mike Harris has said on social media he is expecting an apology from the council for accusing the club of not repaying the money.