Saracens pull out of Cape Town Heineken Cup tie

Newlands Stadium
Newlands was one of two stadiums vying to host the fixture

Saracens have cancelled their much-heralded Heineken Cup match against Biarritz in Cape Town and have moved the fixture to London.

The game, scheduled for 14 January, had sparked a row in South Africa over which stadium should host the event.

The Cape Town Stadium was announced as the initial venue, but that was .

In a statement the Premiership champions said they had "no wish to be a catalyst for conflict".

Newlands, which is owned by the Western Province Rugby Football Union, has been the region's traditional rugby home, and the WPRFU demanded their venue host the Saracens fixture.

The WPRFU also suspended ongoing talks between itself and the City of Cape Townexternal-link, the government authority who owns the two-year-old Cape Town stadium, over sharing the city's future rugby fixtures.

In response, a Saracens statement said:external-link "The innovative English champion club was eager to host the first Heineken Cup match ever played outside Europe, to stage a special, spectacular rugby event and to project brilliant images of Cape Town and European rugby around the world.

"However, we have no wish to be a catalyst for conflict between the City of Cape Town and the Western Province Rugby Union.

"Saracens looks forward to playing a competitive match in Cape Town as soon as local circumstances allow.

"Supporters who have bought tickets in South Africa will be fully refunded, and Saracens will engage with UK-based supporters who have already booked air tickets and accommodation, and ensure they are appropriately compensated."

Saracens have not confirmed where in London the tie will now be held.

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