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Saracens have no plans to expand Allianz Park beyond current capacity, says chief executive Edward Griffiths
Saracens chief executive Edward Griffiths insists the club has no plans to expand Allianz Park beyond its current capacity of 10,000.
The Men in Black’s new home in Copthall has been a full house for the first two matches against Exeter Chiefs and London Welsh and is already sold out for the crucial Premiership clash against Harlequins on March 24.
The ground’s early popularity has led to speculation Saracens might expand the stadium’s capacity but Griffiths says that is absolutely not the case.
He said: “When we applied for planning permission for the stadium we said that a stadium of 10,000 was the limit of our ambition because we wanted to transform a Saracens ticket from being just about the easiest ticket to get in London to being the most difficult ticket to get in London.
“Now after three sold out matches, people might wonder what our position is now but our position is exactly the same.
“An attendance of 10,000 remains absolutely the limit of our ambition and we’re very happy to try and be sold out for every game.
“There’s absolutely no question of wanting to get a foot in the door and then to develop a much larger stadium on the Copthall site, that was never our intention.”
The possibility of temporarily expanding the capacity for Saracens’ Heineken Cup quarter-final against Ulster next month was considered as tournament rules state a host club must provide a venue that can hold a minimum of 15,000 fans.
But after holding discussions with Barnet Council the club decided it was too soon for Allianz Park to hold the extra numbers and Sarries will play the game at Twickenham instead.
There is still a chance the ground could be expanded for a one-off occasion but Griffiths stressed that in the long-term, Allianz Park will remain at 10,000.
“A couple of months ago when we qualified for the Heineken Cup quarter-final proposals were considered about whether it would be possible to enlarge the capacity to 15,000 for one game – only for one game – and we decided against that,” the chief executive continued.
“From a club point of view a capacity of 10,000 at Allianz Park is and remains the limit of our ambition and we’ve got no plans to increase the capacity.”
Griffiths says supporters have been very positive about their new home although he admits there is still work to be done at Allianz Park – particularly with regard to car parking – before the Harlequins game.
“There are always changes that need to be made but I think the Exeter game was a very good start and the place worked even better for the London Welsh match,” the Sarries chief added.
“We’re very happy with the progress we’ve made and the response in general to the matchday experience at Allianz Park has been exceptionally good.”