Sheffield Eagles say they have had assurances that they will eventually play in their prospective new home at the Olympic Legacy Park, but the question remains over who will have the option of developing the stadium.
It is a major step forward for the Championship side, who can now report back to the RFL with their plans to return to the Steel City, after director of rugby Mark Aston confirmed he held positive talks with the OLP about a rugby league presence in the lower Don Valley.
The Eagles say there are plenty of hurdles ahead, but they have now finally had some official confirmation that there is a home for them back in Sheffield, with Aston still seeking to get the green light on the club’s potential investment.
“I had a great meeting with David Hobson and Richard Caborn who are in charge of the 26 acres of the Olympic Legacy Park,” Aston told The Star.
“They did confirm that Sheffield Eagles will have a home there. The club will also have a stadium, and that stadium will have a 5,000 capacity within two years, with a view to develop if we ever need to upgrade to 10,000 capacity.
“I went into it with caution, but it was very positive. ”
Eagles now need to secure a deal with their prospective investor who remains in talks with the council over land for his green energy business.
The business is set to part fund the Eagles, but if Aston gets the go ahead to develop the OLP for the rugby, the club will finally have the secondary spend they have craved to make the Eagles sustainable.
The potential stumbling block is other parties are bidding for the site, but whoever wins, Aston says the Eagles must be accommodated.
“Our preferred route is for the land to become a rugby stadium, but there are a number of interested parties,” Aston confirmed.
“There will be a decision to be made, and if our project is the best then we will win the bid. The council have the final say on who is awarded the stadium. .
“If we can get the green light, then we can develop it and it will give us some secondary spend which is something that we’ve never had.”