Sheffield Eagles' move back to the city faces further delays

Sheffield Eagles are playing their home games at Wakefield for the 2017 season
Sheffield Eagles are playing their home games at Wakefield for the 2017 season

Sheffield Eagles' return to the city has been hit by further delays as they await a decision on their potential new home.

The club has said a decision from Sheffield Council and the Olympic Legacy Park on a potential rugby stadium development has been pushed back until end of August.

Following a decision from the OLP, their recommendations on the preferred bid will be passed to Sheffield Council who will make a final call.

City Rugby League bosses fear the club may not be able to return from Wakefield to Sheffield until at least 2019.

The club and its prospective investor submitted their plan for a stadium on the Olympic Legacy Park in Attercliffe site over a month ago, along with other competitors who are bidding for the site.

Eagles have been without a proper home since 2013 after Sheffield Council knocked down Don Valley Stadium to save money. They have now played at four different venues in as many years.

Bosses say they are 'extremely concerned' that if their stadium plans are knocked back, they will be out of Sheffield for longer than anticipated.

Even if the bid is successful, the club say the timescales are 'extremely small' to bring the site up to RFL minimum standards for the 2018 season.

Attendances for Eagles' home games have plummeted since their move to West Yorkshire.

A Sheffield Eagles spokesman said: "The club wishes to point out that it’s proposal for the site, has rugby at its centre, which was the aim of the site, to be a multi-use stadium, primarily for rugby league and union.

An artists impression of the finished Olympic Legacy Park where Sheffield Eagles have submitted an application

An artists impression of the finished Olympic Legacy Park where Sheffield Eagles have submitted an application

"Sheffield Eagles are extremely concerned should its bid not be successful, this will not be the case.

"It will also likely mean that the club will be unable to benefit from secondary spend from food and drink sales which we need to help be sustainable.

"This is imperative to the club’s future and our proposal ensures this along with maximum usage of the stadium, for rugby and community purposes.

"Attendances have dropped significantly, year on year from an average of around 1,200 in 2013 to just over 400 in 2017.

Eagles played their home games at Don Valley Stadium until it was knocked down in 2013

Eagles played their home games at Don Valley Stadium until it was knocked down in 2013

"This along with the extreme difficulty of retaining sponsors and acquiring new sponsors and partners have saw the club’s revenue streams dwindle.

"The club from a financial stand point, must be back in Sheffield in 2018 to try and rebuild our supporter and sponsorship bases and finally have a period of stability.

"This still leaves the club in a very precarious position for 2018 as with no playing venue confirmed, we cannot begin the process of selling season tickets, sponsorship, hospitality & advertising.

"The club will continue to work with all parties to try and ensure rugby league continues to have a positive presence in Sheffield."

Richard Caborn, chairman of Legacy Park Ltd, created to develop the Olympic Legacy Park, said: “We are aware that the Sheffield Eagles want to secure their long term playing future on the 3G pitch at the Olympic Legacy Park Sheffield.

“We have received and are considering proposals from potential investors. Following last weeks Board Meeting we have decided to do some further work associated with these submissions'

“A further update will be provided in August.”