Saracens in talks over interim home for start of season

Artists impressions of the refurbished Copthall stadium
Copthall will host rugby, athletics and community sports

Saracens are in talks with Watford and Wembley officials over the possibility of using their stadia next season.

Sarries' proposal for a new stadium at Copthall in Barnet has been delayed in the planning stage.

Club chief executive Edward Griffiths told BBC Three Counties Radio he does not expect the venue to be completed until January 2012.

And he confirmed Watford and Wembley were two of "several potential venues that could be used".

He added: "The state of play at the moment is we're expecting our planning application to be determined sometime in June, which would enable us to have the stadium ready for Premiership rugby in January 2012.

"This obviously presents us with the challenge of finding somewhere to play for the first part of next season, maybe seven or eight matches."

Saracens, who currently play at Watford's Vicarage Road Ground but have also held one-off fixtures at Wembley, had initially hoped Copthall would be completed in time for the start of the 2011-12 rugby season.

"I wouldn't say it's a blow at all," said Griffiths.

"Anyone who's ever had anything to do with the planning process in this country knows what to expect.

"We're not in control of the planning process and we've respected that from the beginning.

"We have several contingency plans and we're very comfortable with where we are and we're very excited about what we're doing in Barnet."

Saracens submitted planning permission for the 3,000-seater community stadium to Barnet Council on 4 March.

If successful the facility will include the UK's first artificial playing surface in professional rugby and the ability to expand the capacity to 10,000 on match days.

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