TALKS aimed at securing the long-term future of Runcorn's premier sports facility have stalled.
The owners of cash-strapped Pavilions told Halton Borough Council on Monday they are not prepared to sell or lease them the site.
The council last month stepped in to secure the grounds for another season with a one-off £20,000 grant to meet the shortfall on running costs.
Not-for-profit company Pavilions Arena Ltd, who own the fields at Weston Point, were preparing to close the pitches along with two bowling greens and buildings used for changing, weightlifting and table tennis.
But Runcorn & District FA launched a last-ditch campaign to save the Sandy Lane site, fearing the closure of its five football pitches would be disastrous for the game.
Councillor Phil Harris, Halton Borough Council's executive board member for sport, said on Tuesday: 'Pavilions said they had been advised by their solicitors it is not in their financial interests to sell us the pitch or gift us the pitch to use on lease or covenant.
'So, basically, we are back to where we were originally.
'This time, they have 12 months to find an alternative. In the meantime, the (Runcorn & District) FA are going to pursue and look at other alternatives.'
Cllr Harris added: 'We will go away and consider what has been said and see if there is anything else we have not considered. We will keep in touch.
'They've got their personal and financial interests as owners of Pavilions to look after. It's their future and we understand that.
'The FA also understands the position. What they are concerned about, like us, is maintaining the game in the area in terms of clubs keeping their league position and not losing pitches.'
Pavilions Arena is losing £30,000 a year, offset by a bar income from its teams of £10,000.
Company secretary Roy Roberts revealed every avenue had been explored to find funding for an ambitious redevelopment.
The Football Foundation had pledged half of the £750,000 needed for an all-weather pitch and changing block, while clubhouse owners Severn Leisure pledged a further 10%.
Mond Rangers, newly promoted to West Cheshire League Division One and working towards North West Counties ground standard, are the senior team at Pavilions.
Roberts said a major problem in the longer-term is the poor condition of the dressing rooms.
He said: 'We are pushing it getting another 12 months out of them.
'The discussions with the council have been straight forward - I don't think there's anything hidden.
'It has been quite refreshing. The council said they will go away and reconsider the situation and the FA are going to review what they can do in regards to putting more pressure on the Football Foundation.'