Cardiff City Stadium will host rugby’s Amlin Challenge Cup final next May, the night before the Heineken Cup final at the Millennium Stadium.
Tournament organisers have broken with tradition by deciding on the venue for the Amlin final six months in advance in order to market a big weekend for rugby fans in the Welsh capital.
“Traditionally, we have waited until much closer to the date before selecting the stadium for the Amlin Challenge Cup final,” said European Rugby Cup chief executive Derek McGrath.
“However, the tournament has grown in stature to the extent that we are delighted to announce the final venue almost six months in advance of the match itself. Last season’s innovative decision to include three Heineken Cup clubs in the Amlin Challenge Cup knock-out stages provided a major boost to the competition, and by announcing the venue for the 2011 final at this time, participating teams as well as fans of European club rugby now know that all roads lead to Cardiff for the weekend of 20 and 21 May.”
The 2011 match – which will kick-off at 7.45pm on Friday May 20 – will be the first Amlin Challenge Cup final staged in Wales and with capacities of 74,500 and 26,828 respectively, the Millennium Stadium and Cardiff City Stadium could accommodate more than 100,000 fans at both games.
Cardiff Blues became the first Welsh team to win a European title last season when they beat Toulon in the Amlin final in front of a record crowd of nearly 50,000 in Marseilles.
The Blues were one of three Heineken Cup teams to qualify for the Amlin Challenge Cup and they defeated Newcastle Falcons, London Wasps and Toulon on the way to a landmark triumph for Welsh rugby.
“The Heineken Cup final has become an important date in the sporting calendar and we believe there is an opportunity to offer fans a tremendous culmination to the European season with a celebration of the best teams in the two ERC tournaments,” added McGrath.