Pirates hit with stadium blow
May 29, 2012
The Pirates' current ground - the Mennaye Field - is deemed inadeqate for the Premiership © Getty Images
The Cornish Pirates have received a blow ahead of their play-off final against London Welsh with the news that the leader of Cornwall Council cabinet has opted against over-turning the decision made by the council to not financially support the Stadium for Cornwall plans.
At present, neither of London Welsh nor the Cornish Pirates have satisfied Premiership Rugby's minimum standards criteria for promotion to the top-flight of English rugby. While Welsh are set to appeal the Rugby Football Union's decision to not back the Kassam Stadium as a suitable venue for Premiership rugby, the Pirates had not applied for promotion this season.
They had hoped that the Cornwall Council cabinet would have overturned the Council's decision to not back the stadium - with £10m of public money needed - but leader Alec Robertson has penned a letter to Cornwall Community Stadium Ltd (CCS), the consortium behind the stadium, informing them that he will not support the funding request.
With the likes of Phil Vickery and Pirates' head coach Ian Davies already voicing their concern for the future of the Pirates, the news will come as a massive blow to the Pirates' dreams of competing in the top flight. Robertson conceded in the letter that the stadium would offer the region an economic boost but he claimed that "it would be inappropriate for the Cabinet to ignore the wishes of the majority of members".
The Pirates owner Dicky Evans has responded to Robertson's decision with dismay saying: "We were made aware that this missive was to be released and on Saturday requested that if it had to be said then it should be delayed until after the vital game on Wednesday at Oxford.
"By going ahead to upset Pirates players, supporters and S4C (Stadium for Cornwall) supporters in such a way by going public 48 hours before one of the most important games in our club's history clearly confirms our conclusions that the political survival instinct outweighs any concern for Cornish sport or the future of the Cornish economy."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Ahead of November's USA-All Blacks match, America's ESPN Magazine explains rugby to its readers who may not be familiar with the game
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game