Lack of WRU financial plan threatens Cardiff’s long-term Arms Park future

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Cardiff Athletic Club and Cardiff Rugby are close to agreeing a new three-year lease on the Arms Park but cannot negotiate any longer than that due to the Welsh Rugby Union’s inability to plan financially beyond 2023.

At the CAC AGM on Wednesday night it was confirmed the new short-term agreement, believed to be essentially an extension on the current lease but that returns control over the Bowls Club and the car park to the Athletic Club, was just waiting on legal ratification.

It reflects the lack of medium-to-long term security offered by the WRU who announced back in June a financial package for the professional game that would see payments totalling £23m to the year ending June 2022 and £23.5m to June 2023, although these were only projections and subject to change.

In his CEO newsletter also sent out on Wednesday, Richard Holland confirmed there was nothing to report on the club’s long-term future at the Arms Park, although CAC did announce that monthly rent payments were currently up-to-date and even being paid early, with no arrears.

Meanwhile the Athletic Club are continuing with plans to refurbish and redevelop the ground, with plans in place to set up a limited company to manage this, each section providing a board member alongside the property developers.

The immediate priority was refurbishing the South Stand, with feasibility to be carried out next year over plans to redevelop the North Stand and the land between it and the Holiday Inn hotel. Holland added in his newsletter that the club have plans to undertake a significant refurbishment of the Martyn Williams Pack Bar alongside a new ticket office and improving the toilet facilities on the north side.

Finally, CAC Management Committee chairman Keith Morgan has replaced Christopher Nott as one of the Athletic Club appointees on the board of the rugby’s limited business.

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