Cape Town bids to host first Euro Final in SA
NEWS: The city of Cape Town could host the grand final of Europe’s two most prized events – the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup – in 2025 or 2026.
The European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) chairman Dominic McKay confirmed that the city of Cape Town is among the cities vying to host either of the 2025 and 2026 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup Finals.
In March, Dominic McKay revealed to @rugby365com that the city of Cape Town has expressed interest in hosting a Final ‘somewhere down the line’.
Speaking to reporters, McKay revealed ahead of Saturday’s Champions Cup final that the interest in hosting the finals outside Europe was very strong, with South Africa and the USA vying to host the showpiece.
Thus far, Cape Town has already shown their enthusiasm for European rugby, with the 55 000 capacity Cape Town Stadium sold out for the United Rugby Championship final between Stormers and Munster next week.
“We’re in the midst of a process at the moment. We have launched a process of expressions of interest from the rugby family and beyond for 2025 and 2026 finals,” McKay told reporters.
“We’ve been genuinely blown away by the level of interest, both from across Europe but also across South Africa and into the United States as well.
“We have over 23 bids that have been put forward. We have to work through those over the coming weeks and months before we make a decision.”
McKay added: “I was down in South Africa at the back end of last year and I was petitioned quite hard by the mayor of Cape Town [Geordin Hill Lewis] and the government to think about bringing a final to South Africa.
“It was really pleasing to hear the level of interest and enthusiasm. I’m sure as part of our big process for 2025 and 2026, we may well see some great bids from countries like South Africa coming to the fore.
“The process is underway and we’re keen to encourage great bids from across the world and it’s pleasing to see the variety from different locations coming in.
“We’re in Dublin this year and we’re in Tottenham next year, which will really be exciting. But we are on a mission to take our finals to new locations.”
McKay admitted that bringing the South African teams in added a whole new dimension and has elevated the European competitions even further.
The chairman also emphasised that the teams, who have played in South Africa have enjoyed their stay and have embraced the challenge, which is a dream from a commercial standpoint.
“The participation of the South African teams in the Champions Cup has been fantastic,” McKay said.
“We are thrilled about their level of sporting engagement but also in terms of the audience we have seen at the Champions Cup particularly. I think we had a record of 30 000 coming to the match between the Stormers and Harlequins and that demonstrates the growing love affair with the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup in South Africa.
“What has been particularly pleasing is the feedback we received from the team travelling to South Africa.
“A number of teams from France or England have travelled there for the first time and have loved the experience and enjoyed the sporting challenge. And also enjoyed the challenge of being in a different environment, different hemisphere, so it’s pleasing from a commercial point of view as well.”
On Saturday, Leinster hosts La Rochelle in the Champions Cup final before Glasgow Warriors take on Toulon at the same ground in the Challenge Cup final on Friday.
Next year’s finals are set to take place in England at the Tottenham Hotspurs Stadium in London.