The Rugby Football League, the governing body of rugby league in England, has struck a new long-term agreement to continue staging the final of its Challenge Cup competition at Wembley Stadium until 2027.
Wembley has staged 76 Challenge Cup Finals since the first between Wigan and Dewsbury in 1929. While the ‘new’ Wembley was being built, the final was held at Murrayfield, Twickenham and Principality Stadium before returning to its spiritual home in 2007.
The RFL has also announced details of a new competition, the 1895 Cup, for Championship and League One clubs. The final of this new competition will be played at Wembley on the same day as the Challenge Cup Final.
Next year’s Challenge Cup Final will again take place over the August Bank Holiday Weekend but in 2020 the match will move forward to Saturday, July 18 – six days after Wembley is due to host the final of football’s UEFA Euro 2020 tournament.
RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer said: “This is a significant and exciting day for the Challenge Cup, and the game’s relationship with Wembley Stadium.
“Next year we will celebrate the 90th anniversary of the first Challenge Cup Final at Wembley in 1929. Rugby league is proud of the length and strength of that association – Wembley Stadium has been the setting for so many of the greatest matches and memories in the game’s history, with Catalans Dragons writing another chapter when they became the first overseas club to win the Cup earlier this year.
“We are therefore delighted to confirm the extension of that relationship until 2027. We believe the introduction of the 1895 Cup will give that relationship another boost. It’s a recognition that the game has changed since the onset of full-time professionalism in the Super League era, meaning that for a good number of the Championship and League One clubs who have won the Challenge Cup in the past, reaching Wembley currently seems a distant dream.
“This innovation makes that dream of Wembley much more realistic and achievable. We’ve seen in football, with the EFL Trophy that was introduced for teams for the third and fourth tiers of their professional structure as the Associate Members’ Cup in 1983, that the introduction of a realistic additional chance to reach Wembley can have a rejuvenating effect on clubs.”
Meanwhile, Wembley has moved to remind fans of the restricted bag policy that will be in place for the international football friendly match between England and the USA on Thursday.
Fans will be prohibited from bringing in bags to the stadium unless it adheres to the Wembley regulations. Bags will be checked at an outer cordon and a bag gauge will be used for any dispute on size.
Full details can be found here.