Saracens, Barnet FC Squabble Over Stadium

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 95 months ago
Saracens, Barnet FC Squabble Over Stadium

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A scrum has formed in north London over the future of Copthall Stadium in Hendon.

Saracens, the Premiership rugby club, are on the hunt for a new home after Watford FC, whose Vicarage Road ground has hosted their matches since 1993, decided to invoke a clause in their ground-share contract and boot them out. The rugby outfit has since revealed that it is in talks with Barnet council about moving to Copthall, home of non-league Kentish Town and two small athletics clubs. Saracens have revealed plans for a comprehensive redevelopment of the ground (pictured above), which would involve turning the stadium into a top-notch athletics training facility with potential use for the Olympics, installing new, demountable stands (taking the capacity to 10,000 for match days), and, most controversially, fitting an artificial pitch. If approved, they'd be the world's first professional rugby club to play on astroturf.

However, the plans have upset local League Two strugglers Barnet, who had eyed Copthall as a replacement for their ailing Underhill ground. The Football League's bottom club has been hankering for a move to Copthall for over a decade, and are understandably miffed at these burly rugger-bugger types with their odd-shaped balls stealing their plan. Saracens, for their part, would argue that they're returning to the north London pastures from which they sprang in the late 19th century.

Saracens' application is to be decided by Barnet council, but they already have the Rugby Football Union on board.

Last Updated 11 November 2010