CITY of York Council say York City Knights should still be able to play at Bootham Crescent "until the community stadium is ready" - despite confirming the rugby league club's agreement doesn't currently go beyond 2016.

There were concerns amid the protracted negotiations between the rugby league club and the council that the Knights' future could be in doubt if, as part of the council's stadium project, they agreed the offer of only a two-year interim stay at York City's ground (2015-2016) when it wasn't certain that the new stadium would be ready by 2017.

It has now been revealed that the new arena, to be developed on the site of their old Huntington Stadium home, will not be built until spring 2017 - after that year's rugby season starts.

Asked where the Knights would play at that point, a council officer said: "The agreement has always had provision in it to be extended if needed.

"This is still the case and the plan is still that the Knights will play at Bootham Crescent until the new stadium is ready."

Meanwhile, the council "still believe it is possible" that the Knights would get to stage a play-off match at City's ground next month should they get a home tie.

The club's new directors, having taken over negotiations after major shareholder John Guildford was sidelined from talks, agreed their community stadium deal in July, supposedly ending months of homelessness having left Huntington Stadium last autumn so that site could be redeveloped.

However, they have not yet been able to play at Bootham Crescent as planned as they now await the installation of sockets for rugby posts - which are to be done in the first two weeks of September when City don't have a home game - and a safety certificate.

The council officer said the certificate was submitted on Thursday and that "there is an approximate three-week period after submission to consult with the blue light services, though it may be completed sooner".

There is a mathematical - but only very remote - chance that the Knights could finish top of League One and therefore host the "promotion final" on September 20, when first meet the second in a one-off match to decide the first promotion place.

The play-off semi-finals, in a mini-competition to decide the second promotion place, follow on September 27, which is the more likely date for any York home tie.

The team that loses the promotion final and the team that finish third in the table have home advantage in these ties against the teams in fifth and fourth respectively.

Asked if the parties expected or hoped that Bootham Crescent would be ready by then, the officer said: "Yes, we still believe this is possible."

It was confirmed this week that Huntington Stadium - which has cost the council £25,000 a month to stand empty this year - is to be demolished to save cash prior to redevelopment.

The Knights have played home matches this year at Doncaster, Featherstone, York RUFC and, latterly, Heworth ARLC.