The Rugby Football League (RFL), the national governing body of rugby league in England, is reportedly considering relocating its showpiece Challenge Cup final from Wembley Stadium to a new venue.
According to The Guardian newspaper, the RFL will hold talks with management at England’s national stadium later this year over the future of the event.
The Challenge Cup final has traditionally taken place at Wembley since 1929, but the newspaper reports Roger Draper, chief executive of England’s Super League top-tier club competition, has said the event could relocate to protect its long-term future.
In 2007, the RFL agreed a new 20-year deal to keep the final at Wembley, but this agreement could be scrapped in favour of moving to a new venue.
“We’re conscious that the Challenge Cup has lost its shine; it’s probably become our third biggest property,” Draper told the newspaper.
“Magic Weekend has overtaken it in terms of fans and we’re conscious of that. There’s a lot we’ve got to sit down and discuss. We’ll look at all the available options and safeguard the event.
“We’re in the thick of renegotiating with Wembley. We’ve reached an agreement for 2017, which is great, but we’ll sit down with them over the summer and chat about 2018 onwards.”
Draper added: “We associate the cup final with Wembley and it would take a brave man to move it away from there but, having said that, you’ve got to look at everything and make sure it all stacks up for us.”