The Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup will be returning to Cardiff next year for the 2013-2014 Finals.
The Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup will be returning to Cardiff next year for the 2013-2014 Final.
ERC's 2014 finals are set to go ahead in the Welsh capital with the Amlin Challenge Cup final played at the Cardiff Arms Park on Friday, 23 May 2014 and the 19th Heineken Cup showpiece event staged the following day at the 74,500-capacity Millennium Stadium.
The Welsh Rugby Union, with the support of the Welsh Assembly Government and local partners, was awarded the ERC finals following a competitive bid process and that decision creates a major opportunity to build on the city's rich Heineken Cup heritage after the highly successful staging of the two finals in 2011 when ERC's unique weekend festival of rugby generated a direct financial dividend of Â£24 million for Cardiff.
The Welsh capital is steeped in European club rugby history as the first two Heineken Cup tournament finals were played at the Cardiff Arms Park in 1996 and 1997, with Cardiff reaching the inaugural decider only to lose to Toulouse who have since gone on to win the coveted trophy on three more occasions.
Four Heineken Cup finals have been played to date at the world-class Millennium Stadium with the most recent decider two years ago producing a classic European contest when Leinster Rugby defeated Northampton Saints with a dramatic second-half comeback.
“With fans from all corners of Europe set to travel to Wales next May, we see Cardiff as a hugely appealing setting for the finals weekend which has developed into one of the great events in Europe's sporting calendar,” said ERC Chief Executive, Derek McGrath.
“We will be working with the WRU, the Welsh Assembly Government, Visit Wales and Cardiff City Council to ensure that all supporters will enjoy a thoroughly positive experience.
“Cardiff has been the setting for some of the great finals in the past and in many ways, European club rugby is returning home. I have no doubt that the 2014 weekend at the Cardiff Arms Park and the Millennium Stadium will be yet another celebration of all that is good about European club rugby.”
“We are delighted to have been chosen to again host the next Heineken Cup final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff,” said WRU Group Chief Executive, Roger Lewis.
“We know from experience that it will be a fantastic rugby occasion and a great opportunity for Cardiff and Wales to welcome tens of thousands of supporters.
“We will work closely with Cardiff Council and the Welsh Government to make this yet another great event which will deliver millions of pounds into the wider South Wales economy and this is great news at this challenging economic period in our history.
“There is something special about a Heineken Cup final and our events team at the stadium has a well-deserved reputation for ensuring that we deliver a spectacular atmosphere.”