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Owlerton is new stadium home of Sheffield Eagles

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Owlerton Greyhound Stadium and Sheffield Eagles have concluded a two-year agreement that sees the rugby league club returning to the venue where it first formed almost 30 years ago. The Eagles will play all home fixtures there from February 2014, ahead of which improvements will be made to the pitch and changing rooms.

The move back to Owlerton, which has a capacity of 6,000, has been supported by Sheffield City Council and backed by the Rugby Football League – the governing body for rugby league in the UK. It follows the closure of the Eagles’ former home, Don Valley Stadium. John Gilburn, Managing Director of Owlerton Stadium, said:

We’re delighted to be welcoming the Eagles back home to Owlerton – the place where it all started for the club almost 30 years ago. It is fantastic that we have been able to help the club stay in Sheffield and we look forward to working in partnership to help the Eagles realise their Super League ambitions.

The Eagles’ first team training sessions and youth matches will continue to take place at Sheffield Hallam University’s sports complex, on Bawtry Road. Ian Swire, Chairman of the Sheffield Eagles, said:

We intend to play our fixtures on Sunday afternoons and look forward to creating a fantastic experience utilising the varied dining opportunities in the restaurants at the stadium to complement the superb entertainment supplied by the back to back Champions on the field.

Sheffield Eagles steps up search for new stadium home

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The board of directors of Sheffield Eagles RLFC held an emergency board meeting this week to discuss the options for a playing venue in the city of Sheffield for 2014. Chairman Ian Swire, said:

For several months since the announcement of the closure of Don Valley Stadium the club has been in detailed discussions regarding the newly developed Sheffield Hallam University sports complex on Bawtry Road. Following a meeting last Wednesday it now appears that option is no longer available for first team fixtures. This has led to an emergency situation where the very future of the Eagles has been thrown into doubt.

Sheffield City Council is quoted as saying that it will “do everything to ensure that the club continues to play games in the city next season.” Sheffield Eagles has identified the only possible remaining venue within Sheffield that could potentially accommodate the team as Owlerton Stadium where the Eagles started out life almost 30 years ago. However there is likely to be a substantial amount of work required to bring the stadium up to RFL requirements. Swire explained:

The stadium lost its safety licence for playing rugby league games in 1989 and a feasibility study will need to be carried out to see how practicable it will be to return rugby league to the stadium. Sheffield City Council is providing capital sums to relocate athletics to Woodbourn Road and it is to be hoped that they can also assist rugby league to relocate to Owlerton if the feasibility study is positive.