Saracens agree extension at Watford's Vicarage Road stadium

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The Independent Online

Saracens accept the move into their proposed new home at Copthall Stadium in Barnet may be delayed by another season.

The Aviva Premiership title hopefuls have agreed a short-term contract with Watford Football Club that will see them continue playing at Vicarage Road during the 2011-12 campaign.

The Aviva Premiership title hopefuls are awaiting planning permission for their proposed £14million redevelopment of Copthall Stadium.

It is hoped the new 10,000 capacity ground, which will have an artificial pitch, will be ready in January, but in the meantime they have opted to continue staging home games at Vicarage Road, where they have spent the past 14 years.

The delay could leave Saracens waiting until the 2012-13 campaign to make the transition, but chief executive Edward Griffiths is prepared to show patience.

"We hope to move at some point next season, but if it happens in 2012-13 then so be it," said Griffiths.

"We are confident that planning will go through, it will just take a bit of time.

"It's a 99-year lease for Copthall so adding another six months isn't the end of the world."

The deal to remain at Vicarage Road, struck on enhanced terms for Watford FC, covers at least 10 matches with an option for further games should Copthall Stadium not be completed in time.

"The club is happy to welcome Saracens back to our stadium next season," said Watford owner Laurence Bassini.

"They approached us to see if we could take into account their current situation with regard to their ongoing Copthall Stadium negotiations.

"Given the long-standing relationship between Watford and Saracens, it is only right that we considered their request."