Home comforts for Sheffield Eagles as stadium deal agreed

Sheffield Eagles are ready to put down roots back in the steel city after agreeing a five-year deal to play at the new Community Stadium at the Olympic Legacy Park.

The 3,900-capacity venue, which will also be available for community use, is on the site of the old Don Valley Stadium, where the club were based between 1999 and 2009 and again from 2011 until 2013.

Since then, they have led a nomadic existence, playing at Owlerton Stadium, Doncaster’s Keepmoat Stadium (in two spells, including last year), Sheffield Hallam University Sports Park and ground-sharing at Wakefield Trinity, as well using an embryonic version of their new OLP base from 2018 to 2020.

The first match scheduled to take place back there is against London Broncos on Good Friday, April 15 (Sheffield are set to play their first seven Championship games away from home as building work is completed).

The stadium’s owner, Scarborough Group International (SGI), announced the five-year partnership.

Their operations director Stephen Marriott added: “Sheffield Eagles have a strong and growing fanbase in the city, and this, combined with the investment we’ve made into our Community Stadium, will give fans more opportunities to experience the action at a first-class venue.

“We look forward to working with Sheffield Eagles on this partnership.”

Meanwhile Eagles general manager Liam Claffey, who is credited as having a central role in the return to Sheffield, is to leave the club after six-and-a-half years.

“The time is right that I look to new horizons in my career,” he said.

“I’d like to thank the board for their understanding and support with this decision and for their tutelage.

“The fantastic work being done by the club and the Eagles Foundation means Rugby League in Sheffield has a bright future and I look forward to seeing the sport go from strength to strength in the city.”

Chairman Chris Noble said: “The club will be indebted to the work Liam has done. We wish him all the best for his future endeavours and hope to see him at an Eagles game at our new home this season.”

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