London Welsh is delighted to be able to confirm that it will play its home matches for the 2013/14 Championship season at the Kassam Stadium, Oxford.
The stadium was home to the club during last season’s Aviva Premiership campaign and it is pleased to be able to continue that association.
While the club explored several other options in the Oxfordshire area, as well as a return to its spiritual home of Old Deer Park in Richmond, it was the preference to try and remain in Oxfordshire and to build on the good work started last season - both on and off the pitch.
The decision to remain at the Kassam is one the club hopes will reinforce its commitment to bringing top flight rugby to Oxfordshire and help establish London Welsh as a key player and participant in the area from a sporting and social perspective.
The club made great strides last season in building a fan base and next season the emphasis will be on building upon that work. It is also keen to establish closer links with the University squad and help deepen its relationship with the Dark Blues specifically and with local clubs and schools generally as part of its wish to develop closer links with the Oxfordshire community.
London Welsh is confident that its loyal supporters from Old Deer Park will understand the reasons behind this decision and will continue to make their voices heard at the Kassam as the club strives to make a swift return to the Premiership, where it firmly believes it belongs. A string of recent player signings, as well as the appointment of an exciting new coaching team in Justin Burnell and Gordon Ross, helps emphasise that ambition and drive.
Full details on purchasing season tickets for the next season at the Kassam will be made available very soon.
London Welsh Chairman Bleddyn Phillips said: “We are delighted that we will be playing our home games in the Championship at the Kassam Stadium which proved such a very good base for our team and supporters last season. We have learned much from our first season playing in the Oxford area and we very much want to continue that relationship and extend and deepen the ties we have already established here.
“We have learned much over the past year not only in terms of how the stadium works and operates but also how to develop and build upon our relationship with our co-tenants, Oxford United FC. We have a very good rapport with the football club and we very much want to strengthen the links between us - including (very importantly) ensuring the pitch is maintained to a high standard.
“In particular, we are looking forward to deepening our work and commitment with the local communities - not only in the schools but also with the clubs in the Oxfordshire area. Higher educational establishments represent another area in which we are looking forward to working with more and in particular we look forward to the possibility of providing coaching and skills training to the Dark Blues.
“Finally, I should like to thank and pay tribute to our loyal and traditional fan base from Old Deer Park who have been tremendously supportive throughout. We will do all we can to encourage that support and reward them, and of course all our followers, with success on the pitch. Our spate of recent player signings and the appointments of Justin and Gordon demonstrates that our ambitions off the field, through re-engaging at the Kassam, are matched by our on the field plans to continue to play in the top flight of English club rugby.”