A NEW training ground for Athletic is set to move a step closer after it was announced the club's German investment group will increase their shareholding.

In an end of season update shared with supporters, chairman Ross McArthur has confirmed that DAFC Fussball GmbH have agreed in principal to increase their stake by a further 45.1 per cent.

The group - consisting of Hamburg-based quartet Thomas Meggle, Damir Keretic, Nick Teller and Dr. Albrecht Gundermann - secured 30 per cent of the football club's shares in a deal announced on September 1 last year.

In a move that the Pars described as a "very exciting move in terms of the future strategic development of our club", it also gave the investors the option of being able to acquire a further 45.1 per cent by May 31 2022.

READ MORE: DAFC Fussball GmbH issue supporter update

The club, however, have said an early exercise of that option will now take place, which they added would "allow us to commit to the funding of our own training ground with greater certainty".

Although a site has yet to be formally identified, the Press previously reported that the former Civil Service club in Rosyth is a possibility, providing Rosyth FC with a new home of their own as well.

In his remarks, McArthur said: "As most of you will recall, DAFC Fussball GmbH has an option to acquire a further 45.1% of the DAFC share capital by 31 May 2022, however I am very pleased to say that we have reached an in principle agreement on the early exercise of that option, primarily to allow us to commit to the funding of our own training ground with greater certainty.

"This is not only a great gesture by our new partners, when a number of things still remain very uncertain, but it is further confirmation of their desire to take the whole club forward.

"We are currently in the final stages of securing a site for our training base, which will allow us properly to develop young players and bring together all the constituent parts of our club such as our own Youth Academy and the Pars Foundation.

"Our investors are desperately keen to be allowed to travel to Scotland and become more actively involved at our club and, like everyone else, hope that the current travel restrictions are lifted sooner rather than later.

"As they said to me the other day, given that we have navigated our way through the Covid pandemic together as well as we have done, then they are all the more looking forward to an active involvement going forward and to engaging with everyone associated with our club."

He continued: "With the support of our new investors we have started a process of reviewing what we do, how we do it and who does it.

"The travel restrictions continue to cause difficulties for our new investors, but a number of plans are already under way and we hope to make further, positive announcements in due course. It would have been nice to have things further progressed by now, but the impact of Covid has created difficulties across all sectors.

"What I can say is that, despite the fact that our new investors have not been able to travel and their plans for the club have been hindered by Covid, their commitment to our club has not waivered.

"We have built up a very good and positive working relationship supported by our mutual trust and respect for one another."

Meanwhile, whilst thanking the supporters for their backing during an unprecedented season, McArthur has issued a rallying call ahead of season tickets going on sale next week.

They will be available from Wednesday June 9 and, when the new season kicks off next month, he is confident East End will be able to accomodate all season ticket holders in a socially distanced crowd.

Matches will continue to be made available on live streams, and the chairman added: "We are confident that based on the information we now have, by the time the league campaign gets under way, we will, as a minimum, be able to house all season card holders within East End Park, subject to even the current social distancing regulations.

"However, nothing is ever guaranteed but we wanted to wait for the most recent update from the Scottish Government. It is likely that crowd numbers will then increase with away supporters likely being the last group being allowed to attend at a football stadium.

"I am pleased to confirm that season card sales will start on Wednesday 9 June, and further information will follow in the next few days.

"The SPFL recently announced that the streaming of matches “live” can continue next season, as there may be some further disruption due to Covid. Therefore, all season card holders will continue to receive a free pass to a live stream of the match, in case they cannot attend the match due to any restrictions imposed or their personal choice in the first few months. This flexibility will be built into our season card system.

"If I could finish by repeating what I said last season, as the message is still the same. The revenue that we receive from season cards allows us to plan with some certainty for the coming season. So, I now appeal to as many Pars fans as possible to assist our Club in preparing for the coming season by purchasing a season card.

"In the interests of good financial management, the Board needs to determine, as quickly as possible, our likely income. This will allow us to plan and to provide Peter (Grant, manager) with an appropriate budget to strengthen the playing squad.

"I am acutely aware of the many financial challenges individual families may have at this time, and I am hugely respectful of this fact and appreciative of the donations we have received to date, which continue to make me feel very humbled.

"However, I would not be doing my job as Club Chairman if I did not issue a rallying call to our fans to support our Club in terms of planning for next season.

"We need your further support more than ever as all football clubs will continue face significant challenges in the coming season, as we all navigate our way out of the pandemic.

"Your ongoing support is hugely appreciated and valued and I look forward to seeing you all back “home” at East End Park next season."