Sheffield Sharks could be forced to find a new home after Ponds Forge was shut indefinitely.

The arms-length body which operates the centre, Sheffield City Trust, confirmed the news following a lockdown that has left the company – which also owns the Sheffield Arena – in financial difficulty.

Although it is understood that an original re-opening date was set for August 25, its closure means the Sharks remain without a practice venue and minus a home court with the start of the BBL season provisionally just six weeks away.

“We want to stay at Ponds Forge because it’s been our home, on and off, since 1992,” club marketing manager Mike Tuck said.

“But realistically, we might need to find another venue.”

Sheffield Council today it will also be investing a further £15 million into SCT to enable it to reopen venues.

But Andrew Snelling, chief executive of SCT, said: “The financial implications of the pandemic have meant that as an organisation we’ve been forced into making some really difficult decisions. It is with regret that I can confirm that we have begun discussions with some of our employees regarding their roles. This is never a decision any organisation wishes to make, but it is one which we’ve taken to protect our long-term future.”

The Sharks have re-signed local-born forward Marko Backovic, who is set to become only the fourth player in club history to appear in nine consecutive seasons.

And head coach Atiba Lyons said: “Marko is one of those guys that is part of the fabric of the Sharks. He has literally been a part of the club since birth, a life-long supporter. On and off the court he does so much for this team, we’re excited to have him back.”

Image: Andy Chubb / Sharks

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