Rugby League’s governing body had to make the switch after it received formal notice from WNSL (Wembley National Stadium Ltd) that the new national stadium would not be completed in time to stage the game on August 26.
The RFL is confident that the 2006 Powergen Challenge Cup Final will be a success at the changed venue given the sell out crowds that have attended the fixture while it has been on the road since 1999.
The decision to move the match to Twickenham will enable supporters to maintain any travel and accommodation plans they may have already made for the Bank Holiday weekend.
Richard Lewis, Executive Chairman of the RFL, said:
“Naturally, it is disappointing not to be playing this prestigious game at the new stadium, but the fact of the matter is the Challenge Cup Final is all about the event. In August, fans and TV viewers will still experience the unique atmosphere and spectacle that has made the Challenge Cup Final a key part of the national sporting calendar – and Twickenham is a world-class facility in which to showcase this premier Rugby League match.”
RFU Business Operations Director, Paul Vaughan said:
“I can confirm that the RFU has agreed with the RFL to host the Challenge Cup Final at Twickenham on August 26. We're delighted that we can help out and provide Twickenham Stadium for such a prestigious occasion. We've worked well with the RFL in the past when we hosted the opening match of the 2000 Rugby League World Cup and the 2001 Challenge Cup and we look forward to doing so again."
Commenting on the changed venue, tournament title sponsors Powergen gave the move their full backing. Mike Thompson, Powergen’s Head of Sponsorship, said:
“Our sponsorship of the Powergen Challenge Cup has been a success based on the values of the game, the heritage of the competition and huge interest from Rugby League fans, communities and the media. We are looking forward to this year’s final.”
The RFL confirmed that all tickets sold to date are transferable to Twickenham. RFL Ticketing will be allocating all current bookings to seats over the next few weeks and contacting supporters by post.
Explaining the process for obtaining tickets to the changed venue, Simon Malcolm, RFL Marketing Director, said:
“Transferred tickets will be posted to supporters well in advance of the event. We will also be loading information regarding travel and parking onto the RFL website.”
The RFL also confirmed that it will be following its original plans for delivering a truly memorable event on the day. This includes staging a final of the Powergen Champion Schools Tournament, a re-design of the Cup Final medals and a pre-match ceremony to celebrate the great history of the competition, as well promoting the game in modern way that appeals to the widest audience possible.
“The 2006 Powergen Challenge Cup Final may have had to change the place where its played, but it remains firmly in place in the hearts of Rugby League supporters who, I have no doubt, will celebrate the culmination of this great knock-out competition in style at Twickenham in August,” concluded Malcolm.