SWINDON Robins will not compete in the 2022 season due to a delay in planned building work at the Abbey Stadium, the club has announced.

Swindon - who also did not race in the 2021 campaign due to scheduled renovation at the Abbey and concerns over Covid-19 restrictions - announced the decision on Wednesday morning via a club statement.

The Robins finished 2019 as league and cup champions but chose not to compete in 2020 as work was set to begin over the summer - though the site remained quiet until September when building finally began.

Now in a position where delays - said to have come about due to Covid-19 - have affected the completion date once again, the Robins have had to make a difficult decision shortly after hopes were raised of a potential return next year.

In the club’s statement, Robins promoter Terry Russell said: “We have to commit to the league now and we do not have enough certainty around the stadium works to make such a commitment.

“We have been liaising closely with the stadium owners and understand their frustrations with planning delays and the pandemic. The timetable for works cuts well into the 2022 season and prevents us from forming a team and promotion.

“This is a real blow to everyone connected with and supporting the club, but the circumstances have been out of our control and out of the control of the stadium owners.

“We will continue to work with the stadium owners and will provide updates as the works starts and progresses.”

The Abbey Stadium managing director, George Edwards said: “This status is disappointing for everyone and very frustrating. The world changed in March 2020 and I expect that we will be feeling the consequences for some time to come.

“We have reacted to shorten the build time and to start work as soon as possible, but we have faced a set of extraordinary circumstances.

“Despite making changes to the delivery programme and cutting every corner possible, we simply cannot deliver the facilities in time for the 2022 season.

“Building a new facility while operating the old with five sessions per week presents many logistical hurdles and inevitably extends the construction time.

“But, this was always the case and I believe we have organised the plan to provide the shortest possible timetable with the minimum disruption to greyhound racing.

“We will continue to work closely with Terry during the construction programme.”