The Cornish Pirates have reaffirmed their commitment to the Stadium for Cornwall project, but have conceded it won’t be delivered in time to bring Premiership rugby to Cornwall next season.
Original plans had been were they to win the Championship this season, they would ground share with Plymouth Argyle FC for the start of the 2012-13 season, while the proposed Stadium for Cornwall was completed.
This now cannot happen, however, following news earlier this week that the delivery of the stadium is to be delayed a year. And today Pirates owner Dicky Evans confirmed the Pirates will remain in the Championship at their Mennaye ground in Penzance next season, irrespective of whether they win the league or not.
He assured Pirates followers, however, that dream of playing Premiership rugby in a new purpose built stadium is not over, merely delayed.
“Nothing has changed in our ambitions to be the best on and off the field”
Evans said: “Following three days of meetings and budgeting both in-house and with associated parties, the Pirates now have a clear solid plan that can be delivered to cover our progress for at least the next two years.
“Primarily, it is evident that although well advanced, the planning and design plus implementation of the infrastructure associated with the stadium and surrounding environs will not be in place in time for the Pirates to pass a successful stadium audit from the RFU and Professional Game Board – due by 31st March 2012. This infrastructure covers water, sanitation and access.
“Consequently this means the Cornish Pirates will not have a base available in the season 2012-13 to allow them to be promoted should they manage to win the Championship this season.
“A temporary facility such as Home Park can only be used on a short term basis whilst the main base is not available, it cannot be used to replace a proposed facility.”
Evans said, however, that he remained confident that everything could be in place ready for the 2013-14 season.
He added: “We are, however, fully satisfied that subject to the INOX housing application being approved early next year that work on a stadium will start in 2012 at a time that will ensure delivery ready for use in the 2013-14 season.
“This also assumes that any opposition to the development does not succeed. We are also assured that the Business Plan for the stadium remains robust despite the doubt involving Truro City FC and their commitment.
“In summary, the Pirates will definitely be playing at the Mennaye next season and almost certainly moving to Truro for the following season whichever league is involved, including the Championship.
“Nothing has changed in our ambitions to be the best on and off the field despite the one year delay in delivery of a stadium facility.”