A date has finally been set for the handover of the LNER Community Stadium.
It is Tuesday, 4 February. But a lot depends on the Monks Cross stadium coming through test events – and York City Knights have cast doubt on their ability to play the first home game of the season at the Community Stadium on 9 February.
City of York Council has issued a statement which said:
We are expecting the stadium to be handed over on 4 February. For this to happen GLL and Buckingham need to have held a minimum of 3 test events.
These are reliant on completing adequate commissioning and certification.
GLL (Greenwich Leisure Limited) is the lead developer of the stadium and Buckingham is the main construction contractor.
Three test events
Three test events have been arranged: a 200-capacity dinner, a junior league tournament and a training session / open day.
But one of these events has already been postponed. Chris Pegg, York City’s commercial manager tweeted that the dinner won’t be going ahead as planned because it wasn’t ready.
York City Knights had hoped to kick off their new season on 9 February with a game at the new stadium against Bradford Bulls.
With continuing uncertainty over the test events the club has issued a statement saying:
York City Knights will monitor and ask questions of GLL (Greenwich Leisure Ltd) and our council landlords over the next 72 hours and make a decision on the Betfred Championship Round 2 fixture against Bradford Bulls based on the quality of information received.
As a club, we feel fans and partners need clarity this close to a fixture and we need to begin the logistics of marketing, hospitality, travel, parking and much more. Bootham Crescent has wonderful memories for both Bradford Bulls and York fans.
And the York City Supporters Trust also has a key role:
In accordance with our contractual and constitutional obligations, the Supporters' Trust and our solicitors are in discussions with COYC and the football club. We will make a further statement once our part of the legal process has been completed.
— York City FC Supporters' Trust (@ycfcst) January 11, 2020
Change of seating policy
One other new development. When the stadium opens, York City fans will be able to sit anywhere they like in the South Stand on match day, rather than being allocated a seat.
In his notes for the matchday programme for the City versus Telford game on Saturday (11 January) – which City won 2-0 – sporting director Dave Penney said:
You will still be allocated a seat number, due to how the ticketing system works, but we will not enforce people to sit in that allocated number in the South Stand on a matchday.
This was set as a priority after feedback from the fans forum and we have listened and changed accordingly.
We are also going through feedback from the forum and looking to implement changes where we can.