Premiership Football Stadium Could Be Set To Host Champions Cup Final
Newcastle has bid to become the host city for European club rugby’s showpiece weekend in 2018, with St James’ Park one proposed venue.
The city is aiming to stage the European Rugby Champions Cup final, European Rugby Challenge Cup final and Challenge Cup Qualifying Competition final. Combined, they form one of the biggest weekends in club rugby, generating over €20.4m million in total economic impact.
As part of their proposal they are putting Newcastle United’s St James’ Park as the venue for the Champions Cup final, with the Challenge Cup final being held at Kingston Park Stadium.
The following statement has been released, declaring their intentions.
“The bid is a partnership between Newcastle City Council, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Newcastle United Football Club and Newcastle Rugby Ltd, and has been submitted with the support of the Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby Limited.
“St James’ Park has a capacity in excess of 52,000 and successfully staged a trio of major international matches during Rugby World Cup 2015, with capacity crowds drawn to the city for games involving New Zealand, Scotland, South Africa, Tonga and Samoa.
“St James’ Park has also played host to rugby league’s Magic Weekend for the past two seasons as well as staging Olympic football during London 2012, the iconic venue providing an eye-catching focal point on the city centre’s skyline as well as boasting outstanding transport links, accommodation and amenities.
“A fan zone would be accommodated within the city leading up to the event and over the weekend itself. The fan zone which was in place for last year’s Rugby World Cup broke all records with a tournament-high 34,000 people visiting it on one day for the South Africa v Scotland game.”
The next stage of the bidding process to award the host of the three events sees a shortlist of candidate cities drawn up by tournament organisers, European Professional Club Rugby, by December 16, 2016. That is followed by venue visits and a selection process through to March 2017, before a final decision is made in April 2017.