The Heineken Cup rugby match between Saracens and Biarritz has apparently been cancelled, according to reports.
Accoring to Eyewitness News reporter, Jean Smyth, the game – scheduled to be played in Cape Town on 14 January – has been cancelled.
“BREAKING NEWS: Saracens v Biarritz in Cape Town has been cancelled,” Smyth posted on Twitter.
It is believed the conflict between the Cape Town City Council and the Western Province Rugby has prompted the cancellation of the game.
The European Cup pool game was initially due to be played at the Cape Town Stadium. However, the Western Province Rugby Union was unhappy with the decision and earlier this week announced it would attempt to move the game to Newlands.
“After a recent meeting by the Western Province Rugby Football Union Executive Committee, the request by Saracens to host the match at Cape Town Stadium was considered. However, the Executive Committee decided that the home of rugby, Newlands, would stage this historic match,” the WPRFU commented earlier in the week.
Saracens released the following statement on their website:
Now that all discussions between various stakeholders have been concluded, Saracens has decided the Heineken Cup match against Biarritz on Saturday January 14th will be played not in Cape Town, but in London.
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 by Computicket, and Saracens will engage with UK-based supporters who have already booked air tickets and accommodation, and ensure they are appropriately compensated.