Its records show it has served beer on the same site for 158 years, but now Scotland's oldest international rugby ground has been criticised over its licensing plans for a new multi-million pound stadium complex.

Edinburgh Academicals have defended moves to licence the club's stadium and six other premises at the new £8 million complex in Stockbridge after campaigners said the club should not seek to fund sport with cash raised from alcohol.

The club said alcohol has long been associated with sporting events at the ground and said it is offered and taken responsibly and that the licences it has applied for are in line with all other premises in the area including a neighbouring hotel.

A spokesman for the Save Stockbridge campaign said: "We now see the true horror of the Academicals' intentions.

"A massive licensed facility for every conceivable public event. Live music.

"Up to 6000 people. Suites of function rooms with bars. Licensed restaurants for hundreds of diners with drinkers spilling out onto the pavement.

"Yet another shop licensed for off-sales. Don't they know this is a residential area."

The spokesman added: "If a sport has to rely so heavily on alcohol to fuel its growth something is wrong."

"Comely Bank Road does not deserve to become the next Grassmarket.

"This is a residential area.

"Houses surround the proposed drinking emporium on three sides. There are two secondary schools in the next street.

"What sane person would licence a massive building in this location?"

It called on the Edinburgh City Council to stall any decision: "The board must defer consideration of these applications to a later meeting so that the public and statutory consultees like the police and NHS Lothian have the time to properly consider them.

"There is no urgency. The Accies haven't turned a sod yet. Because the board don't provide copies of the plans which accompany licence applications, the public have to visit the board's offices to even see what is proposed. They must be given time."

The campaigners said that as well as an alcohol licence for their massive premises, the club wants additional licences for s of the retail units, including a licensed restaurant seating 220 people and another licensed restaurant for 144 people, both with outside drinking and dining areas along Comely Bank Road.

The concerns come as the debate over alcohol at reports grounds has been revisited as Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy pushes plans to end the 35-year alcohol sale ban at football grounds.

Frank Spratt, Academicals' president, said the records at the club - the oldest club in Britain and first in the world to host an international rugby match in 1871, when Scotland beat England - show a beer tent at the ground in 1857.

He said: "It is a sports ground but we also have function suites and a museum.

"We are not just trying to make money from the sale of alcohol and it is not the only thing that will be here.

"Yes it is there but it has never really been an issue.

"There has been alcohol at the ground for the last 160 years almost."

Raeburn Place is the oldest international rugby ground in the world.

It is the home ground of the Edinburgh Academical Football Club and the Edinburgh Academical Cricket Club.

The ground derives its name from the adjacent street, Raeburn Place, which is the main street running through the Edinburgh suburb of Stockbridge.