Rugby League: Blow for Sheffield Eagles in bid to move into Olympic Legacy Park

An artist impression of the finished Olympic Legacy Park where Sheffield Eagles have submitted an application
An artist impression of the finished Olympic Legacy Park where Sheffield Eagles have submitted an application
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Sheffield Eagles have been dealt a blow in their bid to win the rights to develop the Olympic Legacy Park following a meeting with representatives on Monday.

The club were believed to be bidding for the right to develop the site against Kevin McCabe’s Scarborough Group, with the latter seemingly taking a big step towards winning the race following a statement from the Eagles this afternoon.

The OLP’s recommendation still has to be ratified by Sheffield City Council, and the Eagles look set to maintain discussions by stating that dialogue is continuing between all parties.

In a statement general manager Liam Claffey confirmed: “Sheffield Eagles met with representatives of Olympic Legacy Park Ltd on Monday August 7.

"Whilst the news and decision is not the preferred option of Sheffield Eagles, the club will work with all parties to ensure the club is back in Sheffield and at the Olympic Legacy Park in 2018.

“The decision made by the Olympic Legacy Park Ltd will now be passed to Sheffield City Council to make a final decision and the club are continuing dialogue with them as well.

“The club apologise that no further news can be given at this stage but will provide more information as soon as we can.”

If the council rubber stamps the OLP’s expected recommendation, then the Eagles must then negotiate with the winning bidder for the terms of their tenancy.

Chairman Chris Noble MBE last month told The Star the difficulties the club would face if they didn’t win the bid.

“If we don’t get it we need to start negotiating with whoever the other party is, ask when they plan to build the seating area,” he said. “Part of the heads of agreement state that Sheffield Eagles have to be facilitated. However we will just become tenants at a rate which we don’t obviously know yet. We’ll have no say over when we can play.”

The club have previously warned that they need to be back in the city urgently following dwindling sponsorship and attendances throughout their time on the road over the past five years.

If they were to become tenants at the OLP, they face a race against time to meet RFL stadium requirements, meaning they could face yet another season away which would be another major blow in their bid to finally find some much needed security.