EPCR issues response after Champions Cup final jeopardised by FA Cup kick-off clash

Colin Newboult
General view of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium which hosts the 2024 Champions Cup final.

General view of Tottenham Hotspur Stadium which hosts the 2024 Champions Cup final.

European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) insist the Investec Champions Cup final kick-off time will not be changed despite a clash with football’s FA Cup.

The rugby showpiece event is set to kick-off at 2:45pm local time on Saturday, May 25 at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

That is on the same day as the FA Cup final at Wembley, with it being confirmed on Tuesday that it will start at the earlier time of 3pm on the advice of the Met Police, who categorise the Manchester derby as a ‘high risk’ fixture.

150,000 fans converge

The stadiums are both situated in north London – albeit 12 miles apart – and it could cause travel issues as 150,000 people converge on the grounds at the same time.

There is also the problem of both matches being televised on the free-to-air ITV, which means the Champions Cup will be shifted to the sister channel ITV4.

EPCR say all broadcast arrangements were “factored in”, however, and that the respective parties remain “happy” for the match to go ahead at the agreed time.

‘Utterly shambolic’ – Possible chaos looming as Champions Cup and FA Cup finals set to clash

“The kick-off time for the Investec Champions Cup Final has been set over three months and communicated to fans – many of whom will be travelling into the UK – to enable them to make arrangements for the weekend,” an EPCR spokesperson said.

“The kick-off time has been agreed with our nine international broadcast partners – in the UK, Ireland, France, South Africa and the United States – and in conjunction with the Stadium and Met Police. The Final will be broadcast in over 100 countries.

“Fan experience and broadcast requirements have been key in agreeing the kick-off of the Investec Champions Cup Final, and all implications factored in. This includes being shown on ITV4 rather than ITV1.

“We are in constant dialogue with key parties, including THFC Stadium and the Met Police, who have confirmed they are happy with the match going ahead as planned and advertised.

“We are looking forward to welcoming a capacity crowd to the world-class Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for a world-class Investec Champions Cup Final featuring the two top clubs in the tournament.”

Social media reaction

Rugby fans on social media were not impressed with the fixture clash with one writing, “Utterly shambolic as usual”, while another added: “Game shooting itself in the foot again! Ridiculous.”

However, given that the Champions Cup is an international event in comparison to the domestic FA Cup, the governing body had to consider the requirements of all countries.

It was therefore agreed with their major broadcast partners that 2:45pm was the best kick-off time, which according to EPCR is unlikely to change.

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