The Cornish Pirates have appointed former Harlequins CEO, Mark Evans, as project leader for the Stadium for Cornwall.
Evans has been tasked with leading phase one of the construction of the ground, which will be shared with Truro City Football Club.
Evans was at Harlequins when they rebuilt their stadium more than 15 years ago, and has also had spells as director of rugby at Saracens and, most recently, as CEO of Melbourne Storm in Australia.
Evans, who now runs a sports consultancy business across a number of sports, commented: “This is an exciting project for Cornwall and I have agreed to lead the phase one stage of the stadium project. For the guys running the day to day needs of the club this can be rather overwhelming, so my considerable experience in this area, which of course takes a lot of time, is aimed to help.
“My hope to focus on providing extra resource and experience is to give the Pirates and the other partners a degree of confidence that the project is being managed sensibly and for momentum to be maintained and monitored to make sure we get the right type of facility for the different stakeholders.”
It is hoped that construction will begin next spring and Evans added: “The position is similar to the development that took place when I was at The Stoop (the Harlequins ground) where we had four phases to rebuild the ground. People forget that was just over 15 years ago.
“The Stoop was a pretty ordinary facility and you have to do it in phases. Phase one though is the big one, where you put all of your core facilities in – all the things you need to run because at the end of the day from a Cornish Pirates perspective it is a rugby club and you’ve got to be able to put the show on the road.
“We don’t live in a country where there is much public money to put into professional sports facilities so you have to come up with innovative funding models to help raise capital. You just can’t be an elite rugby club in England now without having a decent stadium, it simply cannot be done.
“I am a great believer that you have to take everything in steps, to help progress towards the ultimate goal which must be to reach and stay at the highest level. There is no guarantee, but without it there is no possibility and that’s how I’m viewing this. You can look around a number of sports and see that it’s like building a sort of tower and you just have to put all the blocks in place.”