Future of Stadium for Cornwall thrown into doubt
THE FUTURE of a possible stadium for Cornwall has been dealt a devastating new blow after its financial guarantor, Cornish Pirates boss Dicky Evans, announced he was “stepping aside”.
Mr Evans had previously vowed to guarantee the running costs of a stadium for Cornwall for its first ten years.
The housing development associated with the proposed stadium at Langarth, near Truro, is set to go ahead but no financial backer to build the stadium has yet come forward.
A statement released by the Cornish Pirates confirmed Mr Evans is to step aside (not down) as the owner of the company.
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The statement said that his guarantee of funding the new stadium has been cancelled: “With no stadium on the horizon my agreement to fund the running of the stadium (that didn't exist) also fell away.”
Mr Evans added that, along with three other parties, he had already funded the design work for the stadium.
Mr Evans said that an agreement had been struck up with Cornwall Council for the Cornish Pirates to occupy the stadium by 2013-14. But “delays and more delays” occurred and the agreement fell through in May 2012 when the council voted against assisting financially the development of the stadium at Langarth.
He also went on to say that a team to attack the premiership had been built but players moved on after the stadium agreement fell through.
Earlier this week a statement from the Stadium for Cornwall campaign said the housing development at Langarth would help secure financial backing for the construction of the new unit.
The campaign group for the Stadium for Cornwall remain hopeful that financial backers will come forward for the project.
Dicky Evans’ full statement is as follows:
“In 2007/8 in a series of meetings I agreed to cover the breakeven running of the stadium for at least ten years to the Council officers on the understanding the construction of the stadium started by 2010-2011 with finance in place and would be ready by rugby season 2013-2014 at the latest for occupation.
“My side of the bargain also included building a team capable of attacking promotion to the Premiership.
“We then built a team over the following three years under Chris Stirling, Ian Davies and Harvey Biljon that would be capable of winning the Championship and entering the Premiership in a new stadium.
“The budgets were sorted and we had a solid plan in place. We also had lined up some tremendous players pre-transfer deadline to boost the squad ready for playoffs.
“We reached two playoffs finals.
“Delays and more delays occurred and the agreement fell through when in May, 2012, the full Cornwall Council meeting voted against assisting financially the development of the stadium at Langarth by 55/46 votes.
“This was a massive blow and all bets were off-I had to pay off the players lined up to join us for the May final and subsequently most of the squad we had built at great cost is now playing top flight Premiership rugby as I didn't want to stand in their way and they were released from their contracts.
“With no stadium on the horizon my agreement to fund the running of the stadium (that didn't exist) also fell away.
“I had kept my side of the agreement as far as the team to take to the stadium was concerned but the other party failed in their obligations.
“I had however assisted, with three other parties, on money to finance the design work.
“Consequently at this moment in time there is nothing on the table from myself on financing the stadium for any period of time-once bitten twice shy.
“I now understand that 2015 is the likely start date for construction, so all things being equal we should have a stadium by 2017/18 almost ten years after I made my commitment.”