Euro bosses move 2023 Finals from London to Dublin
NEWS: Next year’s Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals won’t be taking place at the Tottenham Stadium in London as originally planned and will instead be held at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin due to complications with the English football calendar.
With the Premier League concluding later than usual due to the 2022 FIFA World Cup taking place in November and December, coupled with the impact of Rugby World Cup 2023 on the EPCR calendar, it was decided to select the Aviva Stadium as next season’s host venue.
The two 2023 showpiece matches will take place in the Irish capital on Friday, May 19, and Saturday, May 20, at the end of a season in which South African teams from the URC will be able to participate.
Ticket sales for Dublin 2023 open with a priority window from this Friday, May 20, enabling fans to secure their places and plan their weekend well in advance. EPCR chairman Dominic McKay said: “Following extensive discussions with all stakeholders, including the Aviva Stadium, Dublin City Council and the IRFU, we are delighted to be bringing the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup Finals back to Dublin next May.
“The ground has a strong association with EPCR, having staged three finals over the years, and we are very much looking forward to returning to Dublin. We are very happy to continue working with Tottenham Hotspur to stage our finals there soon.
“It is a sensational stadium with a burgeoning history of hosting rugby matches. In the meantime, it is exciting to be returning to a rugby heartland at the Aviva Stadium, and we look forward to welcoming fans, clubs, players and stakeholders to what promises to be an outstanding weekend in May next year.”
IRFU CEO Kevin Potts added: “The IRFU is delighted that the Aviva Stadium has been chosen to host the 2023 finals. It is an exciting prospect to have the opportunity of hosting the pinnacle of European club rugby at the home of Irish rugby. Hopefully, we will have at least one Irish team involved in the final stages of what will be a true celebration of European club rugby, stamped with the unique atmosphere that Irish supporters inevitably bring to the culmination of these major European competitions.”
Niall Rynne, chairman of the Aviva Stadium board, said: “This will be the fourth time for Ireland to host the Champions Cup final and the second time for the Aviva Stadium to play host. The old Lansdowne Road was host in both 1999 and 2003, while the redeveloped Aviva Stadium held the final in 2013 when Toulon won the first of their three titles in a row.
“I have no doubt that the prospect of a home final in 2023 will be an even greater incentive for our Irish clubs to do well next year. One thing is certain: whoever makes the final can be certain of a great welcome not only at the Aviva but also from the city of Dublin.”
To date, six countries – England, France, Ireland, Scotland, Spain and Wales – have staged European club finals, and next week the spotlight moves to the Stade Velodrome in Marseille with big attendances expected for the deciders featuring Leinster versus La Rochelle and Toulou versus Lyon.
DUBLIN’S EUROPEAN FINALS
1999: Ulster Rugby 21 Colomiers 6, Lansdowne Road
2003: Stade Toulousain 22 Perpignan 17, Lansdowne Road
2013: RC Toulon 16 ASM Clermont Auvergne 15, Aviva Stadium
2013 (Challenge Cup): Leinster Rugby 34 Stade Francais Paris 13, RDS Arena
By Kim Ekin, @RugbyPass