European Professional Club Rugby have confirmed that the two European Cup finals will be hosted in London next year.
The European Rugby Champions Cup final will be played at Twickenham on Saturday, May 2nd 2015, while the final of the European Rugby Challenge Cup will take place the day before at the Stoop, a stone’s throw away.
The decision comes as a blow to many rugby fans, who had hoped that the new tournament organisers would take the opportunity to push rugby’s frontiers – Madrid, Milan and Rome were all popular locations mentioned in the last few months.
The 2015 Heineken Cup final, had it gone ahead, had been scheduled to be played at the San Siro in Milan by the now defunct ERC. However, the only bids deemed acceptable to host the final of the new competitions were received from Twickenham and Stade de France, after what EPCR described as a ‘competitive tender process’.
EPCR Director and Executive Committee member, Bruce Craig, said: “In the inaugural season of the tournaments, the Board of EPCR took the view that fairest and the most commercially-sound approach was to award the finals based on a competitive tender process.
“The RFU’s bid was extremely strong and the fact that we are going to London for the 2015 finals is hugely positive for European club rugby. Twickenham Stadium and the Twickenham Stoop tick every box for fans wishing to attend both the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals next May and with both venues steeped in rugby history, we are certain that the weekend will be an unforgettable experience.”
RFU Chief Executive, Ian Ritchie, said: “We are delighted to have been chosen as host for EPCR’s inaugural finals. This is a particularly exciting time for European club rugby as we move into a new era, and we see both games as constituting one marvellous event which will bring tens of thousands of supporters from across Europe into London and Twickenham.”
Ticket prices for the Champions Cup final will start at £38, while there is also the option to buy a ‘Golden Ticket’ for entry to both finals. More ticket information can be found on epcrugby.com.
Fixtures for the 2014/2015 European Cups will be announced on Thursday at 2pm.
What do you make of the decision to host both finals in London? Would you prefer to have seen them played at a different location in Europe?