Cardiff Blues in second Arms Park switch

A crowd of 8,000 turned out to watch Cardiff Blues against Connacht on Friday night
A crowd of 8,000 turned out to watch Cardiff Blues against Connacht on Friday night

Cardiff Blues play their second successive game at Cardiff Arms Park on Friday night amid ongoing worries over crowd numbers at Cardiff City Stadium.

An 8,000 capacity crowd saw the Blues beat Connacht last Friday, and they host Ulster there a week later.

The Blues are yet to decide whether to make a permanent Arms Park return.

"We have arranged a board meeting for Friday to discuss the rest of the season," said Blues chief executive Richard Holland.

The Blues abandoned the traditional Arms Park home of Cardiff rugby in 2009 when they signed a 20-year agreement to play their home games at Cardiff City Stadium, but the Blues have expressed concerns over crowd numbers.

Holland added: "The supporters seemed to enjoy being back there and, following negotiations with Cardiff City Council, I am delighted to announce that we have raised capacity for this Friday's match at the Arms Park to 9,000.

"As I said on Friday night, there are no long-term plans in place to move back to the Arms Park permanently.

"We still have a 20-year lease in place at the Cardiff City Stadium and playing these two fixtures at the Arms Park has no impact on this agreement.

"However, some games are more suited than others to be played away from the Cardiff City Stadium and this is something we will be looking at going forward. [We] will be reviewing the situation for the 2012-13 season also."

Having initially attracted average crowds of between 10,000 and 11,000, attendances have dropped significantly this season, with an all-time low of 2,093 watching the LV= Cup match against Harlequins on 5 February.

When Richard Holland took over as chief executive in January, he dismissed the idea of leaving the stadium, stressing his brief was to "make it work at Cardiff City Stadium, full stop".

But the region bowed to supporter pressure to return to the Arms Park by hosting Connacht at the city centre ground on Friday, and Holland hinted that further games could follow despite their contractual obligation to Cardiff City Football Club, the owners of Cardiff City Stadium.

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