DUDLEY Heathens have confirmed they will remain in the National League next season.

The former Cradley club had been mulling a move up to the Premier League - an idea which was backed by fans earlier this month.

But club bosses have decided to remain in the National League, citing the need to protect the long term interests of the club.

Club partners Chris Van Straaten and Gary Patchett attended British Speedway’s AGM over the weekend representing their respective Elite League clubs Wolverhampton and Swindon.

And no application was made on behalf of the former Cradley club, who race at Wolverhampton’s Monmore Green, to move into the Premier League after weeks of detailed discussions, including a fans forum.

Club chairman Nigel Pearson said: “The decision was made in the best interests of the club.

“We consulted other promoters, looked at the costs involved in running at the higher level and took on board the views of our wonderful fans.

“In the end we decided it was right to remain in the National League, working with British youngsters for the 2013 season.

“We have worked on this project for three seasons now and the ultimate aim has always been to find a piece of land to take the Heathens into their own home.

“We didn’t want to jeapordise that in what are very difficult economic times. As a management team we are committed to putting the club on their own track.

“And if we had our own track it would automatically bring in other sources of income. As it stands we rely on admission, programme sales and sponsorship, no other form of income is available to us.

“We are extremely proud of what has been achieved in three seasons and we look forward to continuing that work. We will be meeting this week to discuss team plans for the new season and we will also be discussing season ticket details.”