THE new Community Stadium will not be completed in time for the start of York City’s 2019-20 campaign.

York City Knights will also not be able to move in during the current rugby league season as previously planned.

The Press can today reveal that the 8,000-seat stadium and leisure centre has been hit by new delays.

The site was due to open in July but will not be ready until August 19 at the earliest, although City of York Council were not able to say whether the project has been delayed by weeks or by months, or explain the reasons for the hold-up.

The Knights were due to play their last two home games of the current Betfred Championship season – against Bradford Bulls on July 20 and Featherstone Rovers on August 18 - at the Community Stadium, but have now been told this will not happen.

As such, City will not be able to start their 2019/20 football season in early August at the new venue.

Both teams currently play at City’s Bootham Crescent ground, for which Persimmon have just submitted a planning application to develop into housing.

A spokesman for City of York Council said: “We understand there will be a delay to the completion of the York Stadium Leisure Complex. This would mean a handful of games would not be able to take place in the new stadium as planned and the accompanying leisure facilities will be unable to open as soon as we’d hoped. This is subject to commercial discussions so we cannot comment further.

“A significant amount of progress has been made to date, both on and off site, with all stands now visible.

“We share the disappointment and frustration the delay will cause.

“Work will continue with all partners to minimise any delay and open the York Stadium Leisure Complex as soon as possible, without compromising on quality or safety.”

A spokesman for York City Knights said they were first told of the delay last week.

Knights chairman Jon Flatman said: “These delays are deeply frustrating and of course completely out of our control.

“York City Knights are determined not to let this derail any of the progress we have made as a club.

“We will continue to concentrate our efforts on the things we can control - becoming a top end Championship club, developing player pathways for both boys and girls in the city, and supporting the excellent work in the community done by the Knights Foundation - including the Knights Ladies and Learning Disability Super League teams.

“We would like to apologise to all of our fans and partners for this regrettable situation. This will not stop the positive momentum we have, I know everyone involved will continue to drive this club forwards and upwards.”

A statement issued by York City this evening said: "The board of directors is 'extremely disappointed' by news tonight of a delay in construction of the Community Stadium.

"The delay, which is out of our control, will inevitably have financial implications for York City Football Club with the loss of four high-profile pre-season fixtures and the cancellation of several commercial events which were designed to mark the club’s departure from Bootham Crescent.

"Our supporters should not be alarmed by the news and the board of directors wishes to stress that the club will not be leaving Bootham Crescent until the Community Stadium is ready.

"The club is now in discussions with City of York Council over the full implications of the delay.

"The delay means that the club will start the 2019-20 season at Bootham Crescent."

Senior councillors were told at a meeting in September 2018 that construction work was on schedule and due to be completed by May 2019, with the stadium set to open in July.