A historic Welsh rugby club will remain at their home ground of more than 55 years after plans to relocate it were dropped.
Cardiff Saracens RFC have played at Roath Park Recreation Ground since their formation in the mid-1960s but in July learnt that Cardiff Council planned to move them to another ground on the other side of the city as part of measures to tackle its huge budget deficit.
There were fears that such a move would cause the club to fold completely by creating huge logistical challenges ahead of the new season, while it would also signal a departure from a ground that has helped to develop generations of players.
After news of the potential move broke, an online petition to save the Saracens from relocation was set up and signed by over 1,000 people, including local councillors.
And the club have now been told they can continue to play their home games at the ground for the 2023/24 seasons, with the previous decision to relocate the club based on what the council described as an “administration error”. While the council previously understood that only seven matches were played there over the course of the season, the real number is significantly more.
As part of their agreement with the council, the club will have to provide basic ground maintenance and provide their own post, with the previous posts disposed of by the Council due to them being unsafe to continue using.
Club secretary Elliot Saunders said the club were “delighted” that the proposed relocation was no longer happening and thanked all those who had shown their support for the cause.
“We would like to thank everyone who has supported Cardiff Saracens over the past month,” he said. “This includes Jo Stephens MP, Councillors De’Ath and Wong as well as over 1000 people who signed the online petition.
“Following a misunderstanding of the number of games played over previous seasons, Cardiff Saracens are delighted that an agreement has been reached with Cardiff Council to allow them to continue using Roath Recreation Ground for the 2023/24 season.
“As part of the agreement, Cardiff Saracens will take on some of the pitch maintenance as well as providing our own posts,” Mr Saunders added. “As this is a big expense for a community club, we have set up a Crowdfunder for anyone who would like to donate”.
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The Saracens were founded when two clubs – Roath Park RFC and Spillers RFC – amalgamated in 1966. The former of those two sides had started playing at the venue years earlier, meaning the club has called it home in some guise for around 70 years.
A council spokesperson said: “A recent meeting with Cardiff Saracens RFC revealed that, as a result of an administration error on the part of the club, significantly more matches were played on the pitch last season than had been officially booked. Now that the Council is aware of these additional fixtures the proposed relocation will not be taking place.
“The previous rugby posts have been removed as they were no longer safe. With limited time available before the start of the season the club have agreed to source new posts, which the council will subsequently install. Moving forward the club will also take responsibility for some basic maintenance tasks, working with the council’s grounds maintenance team, to help improve the pitch at the club’s historic home.
If you would like to support Cardiff Saracens’ GoFundMe, the donation page can be found here.