Sheffield Eagles have moved to reassure fans about the process used to decide to play the club’s play-off game against Batley on Saturday at Doncaster.
The Eagles did try to use the Hallamshire Sports ground at Bawtry Road in Sheffield, where they recently played Rochdale in the Championship.
A statement on the Eagles’ official website reads:
“Once we knew that we had a home play off tie, the RFL were asked to approve the staging of the game at the SHU Sports Park, Bawtry Road, following the recent very successful staging of the Rochdale league fixture there.
“Unfortunately the RFL would not agree to this; an extract from their reply being ‘The Ground (Bawtry Rd) is not a Designated Sports Ground and therefore not appropriate for the competition (i.e. play offs). Furthermore, having had official replies from all 4 potential opponents whom the Eagles may face in this Play-Off Round, I can inform you that each has responded negatively to the possibility of the fixture being played at this alternative venue.’
“The club then considered its options and although it is not ideal to take the game out of Sheffield it was felt that the Keepmoat Stadium, with its wide pitch, would give us the best chance of success.
“Due to other bookings the Keepmoat were only able to stage the game on Saturday and we therefore agreed this with both Batley and the league.
“Subsequently, the Keepmoat became free on Sunday and we, therefore, spoke to Batley again and asked if they would play on Sunday.
“However, as all their arrangements were already in place for a match on Saturday they requested that the date be unchanged which is their prerogative.”
The Eagles also insisted that supporters were to the forefront of their minds when the decision was taken to host the game at the Keepmoat Stadium.
The statement continued:
“Please be assured that the Eagles always considers all issues when making decisions such as this, not least the impact which it has on our supporters.
“On this occasion, given the excellent playing and match day facilities offered by the Keepmoat, it was decided to take the game there.”