As part of our aim of bringing top-level American Football back into the city of Leicester, the club is in discussions with Leicester City Council about proposals that would allow other sports to be accommodated at Saffron Lane Stadium.
Saffron Lane is the ‘spiritual home’ of gridiron in Leicester and occupies a key spot in British American Football history – it was the chosen venue for the first Britbowl National Championship game in 1987 and 11 subsequent national finals – as well as being the home of the original Leicester Panthers American Football team during the 80s and 90s.
The Falcons have longed to come back to their rightful home – after all, we’re the Leicester Falcons, not the Hinckley Falcons – but the city has lacked a suitably sized venue that can accommodate an American Football pitch. Meanwhile Saffron Lane, while operating as a summer venue for regional track and field athletics, spends long parts of the year under-used and as a result, under-funded.
It’s been publically reported that the venue has run at a loss ever since being made athletics exclusive some seven years ago – the current set up is particularly unusual and designed so no other sport can use it – and therefore the Council is unlikely to continue investing in it, so the facility as it stands remains at risk.
Working with a commercially viable partner like the Leicester Falcons, however, has given their vision for Saffron Lane a timely boost and the proposed redevelopment will allow a multi-use stadium to continue to operate and flourish – and create a new sporting hub for the city that will benefit the whole community and the next generation of Leicester’s sporting superstars.
Crucially, track and field will continue as normal alongside other sports including American Football, but also rugby and soccer, allowing the stadium to become a nationally recognised venue again. Yes, it will help the Falcons to become one of the best-supported gridiron teams in the country, but this will in turn lead to investment that will also benefit the athletics clubs who use the stadium (Leicester Coritanians and OWLS), as well as the Leicester sporting fraternity at large.
The Council has publicly declared that Saffron Lane will continue to and always be primarily an athletics facility – which means it will be protected and remain properly accredited – but that it does need the support of other sports.
Leicester Falcons are also very keen to work in proper partnership with Leicester Coritanians and others going forward – for example making our medical facilities available to them and opening up sponsorship opportunities for athletes in the USA, while we work closely with their sprint coaches, etc.
All said, we are calling on our fans (old and new) to back the plans currently under consultation and support us next year after our exciting promotion to the Premier Division. But we’re also hoping sports fans in general will join with us – as we firmly believe making Saffron Lane a multi-use venue to be truly proud of will benefit everyone in our great city.
You can have your say on the plans here – https://consultations.leicester.gov.uk/public-health/saffron-lane/