Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will stage a rugby league match for the first time next year after it was announced as the host venue for the Challenge Cup final.
The match is traditionally held at Wembley Stadium but will head to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for its 121st edition on May 28 next year. It will mark the first time the final has been held in May since the 2004 match, when St Helens beat Wigan in Cardiff.
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium had been due to stage a rugby league Ashes series Test match between England and Australia last November but this was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Rugby Football League (RFL) confirmed that Wembley would return as host of the Challenge Cup in 2023. The stadium hosted this year’s match on July 17, with St Helens beating Castleford Tigers 26-12.
RFL chief executive Ralph Rimmer said: “We are sure that rugby league supporters and players will be excited by the prospect of experiencing the Betfred Challenge Cup final at a new venue in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2022.
“There was real excitement when we announced the stadium as a venue for an Ashes Test in 2020, and after the disappointment of losing that game as a result of the pandemic, we’re delighted to have this opportunity to recapture that excitement with the sport’s traditional showpiece event.
“We also hope that Spurs fans will join us to see a different sport played at their fabulous ground – rugby league is a fast, tough and spectacular sport, and the Challenge Cup final is famous for its family-friendly atmosphere at Wembley, which we’re looking forward to bringing to a new stadium in London.”
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy added: “We are delighted to bring yet another major sporting event to our stadium.
“The Challenge Cup final is a game that is steeped in history and we are proud to now be a part of that, while further establishing our stadium as a leading sports and entertainment destination in London.”
Tottenham Hotspur Stadium was recently announced as the host venue for the September 25 heavyweight boxing match between Anthony Joshua and Oleksandr Usyk.
It will mark the first time the stadium has staged a boxing match. The venue had been due to host Joshua’s bout with Kubrat Pulev on June 20 last year but this was postponed due to COVID-19 and was eventually held at the SSE Arena, Wembley.
Following the Joshua-Usyk fight next month, Tottenham Hotspur Stadium will host back-to-back NFL games in October.