Belfast Telegraph

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Saracens to end groundshare

Watford have confirmed that rugby union side Saracens will end their tenancy of Vicarage Road at the end of the season.

The two sides have shared the stadium since 1997 but the rugby club intend to play on a plastic surface at the redeveloped Barnet Copthall Stadium when their lease ends in June 2011.

"We originally presented Saracens with a September 3 deadline to make a decision about their future after June 2011," Hornets chairman Graham Taylor said. "But with Saracens now seriously pursuing another option we feel the time is right to provide some definition and clarity. We are very comfortable with our decision."

He added: "I believe we have shown understanding, empathy and no little patience in wanting to conclude this matter in the best interest of both parties.

"Now we want to push forward with the plans we have been starting to formulate.

"The development of Vicarage Road into a stadium of which we can all be proud remains our key focus."

Watford were moved to make the statement after Saracens confirmed they intend to play on artificial turf next season if plans to refurbish and relocate to Barnet Copthall Stadium are approved.

The Aviva Premiership club are to begin discussions with the London Borough of Barnet about the viability of developing the ground into a multi-purpose sports venue.

The plans would see Barnet Copthall Stadium, home to Shaftesbury Barnet Harriers and other sports clubs, become a premier athletics venue and potential training centre for the 2012 Olympic Games.

Such a move would see Saracens return to their traditional home in north London and would be welcomed by supporters.


From Belfast Telegraph