Saracens CEO Edward Griffiths says it's "just too soon" for Heineken Cup quarter-final to be held at Allianz Park

Times Series: Allianz Park (Picture: Action Images) Allianz Park (Picture: Action Images)

Saracens CEO Edward Griffiths admits it is "just too soon" for the club to hold the Men in Black's crunch Heineken Cup quarter-final against Ulster at Allianz Park.

Sarries were hoping to satisfy tournament rules by temporarily extending the capacity at their new home from 10,000 to 15,000 but after discussions with Barnet council the club have opted to host the match at Twickenham instead. 

Griffiths admits playing the game at Allianz Park was the preferred option but understands that the stadium needs to prove its functionality first.

"We've just moved into a stadium and while I think everybody within Barnet recognised the appeal of this game it's just too soon," Griffiths said.

"We're moving into a new venue, a new area and it was just too soon to extend the capacity for a one-off match.

"We took into account the views of the council and we value the trust that we built among the local community and for that reason we've opted to take the game to Twickenham."

Griffiths says the club chose not to make a formal application to extend Allianz Park after holding discussions with Barnet council and suggested transport issues were an important factor in the decision.

He said: "We need to wait and see how the stadium unfolds, how the travel plans unfold - if it's clear that 10,000 people can get in and out of Allianz Park without causing major disruption then who knows what happens in the future.

"The point we're making now is that we're very confident that our transport plan will work but we appreciate that people want to see it working before making any further commitments.

"We've worked very hard to establish a level of confidence and trust among the local community and we understand and accept that this match was probably too soon."

Saracens have hosted matches at a variety of venues this season and Griffiths insists the Men in Black will still enjoy a home advantage at the 80,000 seater stadium.

He continued: "It would have been nice to have played the match at Allianz Park but there are a lot of Saracens players in the England squad who are very familiar with Twickenham, who would regard Twickenham almost as a second home.

"So we believe we will still have a significant home advantage playing Ulster at Twickenham."

Sarries played their first match at Allianz Park on Sunday ahead of the official opening against Exeter Chiefs on February 16.

Griffiths stressed that extending the ground was only ever meant to be a temporary measure for the one-off match and that the current 10,000 capacity remains sufficient going forward.

"This proposal was to increase the capacity for a one-off match which you could say is arguably one of the most important matches we've played - a Heineken Cup quarter-final at home," he said.

"Throughout the planning application we said a crowd of 10,000 was sufficient and that's still the case."

 

 

Comments (3)

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2:03pm Wed 30 Jan 13

DannyMan says...

See what nice, considerate neighbours we are?
See what nice, considerate neighbours we are? DannyMan

12:21pm Thu 31 Jan 13

TonyTaff says...

A sensible decision from Edward, even if Twickenham provides a soulless environment.
A sensible decision from Edward, even if Twickenham provides a soulless environment. TonyTaff

8:58am Wed 6 Feb 13

redrenault says...

LOL .. I don't think you should get all high & mighty. The simple fact is that there was not enough time to conduct a 28 day process, which is the time that would have been needed to get the temporary approval for the increase in numbers. By then if it had not been successful you would have missed the window to book the other venues. Local residents that ONLY approved the scheme feel deceived as the clubs future plans still seem to go for a 15,000 seater. A move they would never have given their support for.Amazing how all that would need to be done would be the roof of the stand removed and a few more levels added to the existing stands ! - good design and very convenient. It would not surprise me if plans were already being submitted to knock down the old block and build a new larger stand in its place.. with increased capacity. I quote from 2010...“They seem to be the clubs that break even and make a small profit in a year and I think that’s something that we’re going for and that’s why a 10,000 stadium is the limit of our ambition. - Ed Griffiths .. what are we supposed to believe ????? Regards RR
LOL .. I don't think you should get all high & mighty. The simple fact is that there was not enough time to conduct a 28 day process, which is the time that would have been needed to get the temporary approval for the increase in numbers. By then if it had not been successful you would have missed the window to book the other venues. Local residents that ONLY approved the scheme feel deceived as the clubs future plans still seem to go for a 15,000 seater. A move they would never have given their support for.Amazing how all that would need to be done would be the roof of the stand removed and a few more levels added to the existing stands ! - good design and very convenient. It would not surprise me if plans were already being submitted to knock down the old block and build a new larger stand in its place.. with increased capacity. I quote from 2010...“They seem to be the clubs that break even and make a small profit in a year and I think that’s something that we’re going for and that’s why a 10,000 stadium is the limit of our ambition. - Ed Griffiths .. what are we supposed to believe ????? Regards RR redrenault

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