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Cape Town misses out as EPCR reveals Euro Finals venues

NEWS: South African fans will have to wait a few years to host a European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup Finals as EPCR announced the venues for the 2025 and 2026 editions of the tournaments.

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EPCR confirmed that Cardiff and Bilbao have been selected as host cities for the tournament organiser’s prestigious 2025 and 2026 Finals Weekends.

Cape Town was among the cities that bid to host the incredible event.

*READ: Cape Town still in a race to host Euro Final 

However following a highly competitive tender process which generated impressive bids from 23 stadia across 12 countries, the Board of EPCR awarded the 2025 Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup Finals to the Welsh capital’s iconic 74,000-capacity Principality Stadium and it was also decided that the 2026 showpiece matches would return to the superbly-appointed San Mamés Stadium in Bilbao, Spain.

Dominic McKay, the Chairman of EPCR, said: “We are delighted to confirm Cardiff and Bilbao as the host cities of the 2025 and 2026 EPCR Finals Weekend.

“Returning to Cardiff 30 years on from the iconic first Final means a great deal to us and our friends here in the city, and we will celebrate the milestone appropriately. We know this rugby heartland will not only be proud to host this historic weekend, but will welcome rugby fans from across the world to join us in Cardiff for our EPCR Finals Weekend in 2025.

“For 2026, we cannot wait to return to Bilbao, which hosted a superb celebration of rugby in a world-class destination in 2018. Our selection of host cities such as this reflects our intention to continually deliver outstanding experiences for fans, clubs and stakeholders for our marquee weekend.

“We know Bilbao will attract spectators from a varied demographic, bringing our sport to even more fans in a stunning host city.

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“We would like to thank the many bidding cities for their great enthusiasm in hosting our Finals Weekend. We were delighted to receive so many bids and expressions of interest from across the world. The final decisions were certainly challenging given the high standard of all bidders, and we are looking forward to working with Cardiff, Bilbao and all the stakeholders to deliver two more superb Finals Weekends.”

Cardiff has a long and illustrious connection with EPCR having staged high-profile Champions Cup deciders on seven previous occasions – the last being in 2014 – and next year’s event will celebrate the 30th edition of EPCR’s elite final since Stade Toulousain made history by defeating Cardiff after extra-time at the old National Ground, Arms Park in 1996, adjacent to the site of the Principality Stadium, which celebrates its 25th anniversary this season.

Bilbao was a landmark choice in 2018 when the city staged the first EPCR finals weekend outside of rugby’s traditional six nations, and so successful were the matches in the heart of the vibrant Basque country with Leinster capturing the Champions Cup title and Cardiff lifting the Challenge Cup trophy, that the San Mamés Stadium will once again be the destination for tens of thousands of fans of the competitions in 2026.

Home to Athletic Club de Bilbao, the 53,000-capacity San Mamés was awarded the Best Sports Building in the World accolade in 2015 by the World Architecture Festival and it will also host this season’s UEFA Women’s Champions League final and the 2025 UEFA Europa League final.

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Since the first decider in 1996, EPCR finals have been staged at 23 different venues in six countries. The dates of the 2025 and 2026 Finals Weekends, as well as ticketing arrangements, will be announced in due course.

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