THE City of York Council came under more pressure today amid fresh claims the authority was reneging on an agreement to relocate the running track at Huntington Stadium.

The York Socialist Alliance attacked the council's ruling Liberal Democrat group for its apparent U-turn which supporters' pressure group the Friends of Bootham Crescent claims could threaten the existence of York City.

Socialist Alliance chair Frank Ormston said: "For our local council to stab the club in the back in this manner is unforgivable, especially after the immense amount of hard work that the supporters have put into saving the club over the last 15 months

"The Liberal Democrats try to be all things to all people, but when the chips are down they side with big business every time."

Ormston said the Socialist Alliance continued to support the FoBC demand for a compulsory purchase order to be made on Bootham Crescent.

Ormston said he feared the council is trying to play the football and athletics clubs off against one another.

"The council seems set to renege on its promises to the football club, so there is no reason to believe it won't behave in the same cynical manner towards the athletes.

"The Supporters' Trust signed up to the agreement on the understanding that the council would relocate the track to everyone's satisfaction.

"That the council has reneged on that commitment is not a reason for the athletes and footballe supporters to fall out; it is a reason for them to co-operate and force the council to honour its word and help provide adequate facilities for both."

However, the council today hit back at its critics who suggested it was not doing enough to safeguard City's future.

Charlie Croft, assistant director, education and leisure, City of York Council, said work was on-going to help the club in its move to Huntington in time for the start of the 2004-05 season.

And he dismissed accusations of an authority U-turn, claiming the council had made it clear to City the football club would be responsible for the future of the running track.

Croft said: "We are working intensively with York City Supporters' Trust to facilitate the club's move to Huntington Stadium.

"The club is, and always has been, very clear on the council's position regarding the athletics facilities at Huntington.

"We have always said that the club would need to prepare a business plan to look at funding the stadium improvements and to provide an alternative athletics track and facilities if it became clear that it was not possible to retain the track.

"This position was made clear at the beginning of the negotiation process and was fully understood by the Supporters' Trust.

"Work on the business plan is at an early stage and we need to see what emerges.

"Throughout the process the council will continue to work closely with the Trust and the club to consider the implications and to offer every assistance that it can to bring about the relocation that we all want to

see achieved."

Updated: 11:06 Tuesday, May 20, 2003