William Eichler 06 December 2016

Newcastle bids to host European rugby finals

Newcastle has launched its bid to become the host city for European club rugby union's showpiece weekend in May 2018.

The North Eastern city wants to stage the 2018 European Rugby Champions Cup, European Rugby Challenge Cup and Challenge Cup Qualifying Competition finals.

The city’s stadium, St James' Park, has a capacity in excess of 52,000 and has successfully staged a trio of major international matches during Rugby World Cup 2015.

A fan zone would be accommodated within the city leading up to the event and over the weekend itself.

Nick Forbes, leader of Newcastle City Council, said: ‘Newcastle now has a global reputation for hosting big sporting events following the success of the Rugby World Cup last year, as well as rugby league’s Magic Weekend for two consecutive years with record crowds.

‘These top-tier competitions would bring thousands of fans into the city from all over Europe, with this year’s tournament in Grand Stade de Lyon attracting over 58,000 spectators.

‘Securing this for Newcastle would bring enormous economic benefits for the city and the wider region.’

Cllr Kim McGuinness, Newcastle City Council’s cabinet member for culture and communities added: ‘Hosting this tournament would be a real coup for the city, and would be a fantastic legacy to add to the success of Rugby World Cup 2015.

‘Events like this not only bring thousands of visitors to the city and the North East, but encourage people to see and get involved in sport.

‘If we were to host, visitors could look forward to our renowned Geordie welcome and the opportunity to explore the unique culture and heritage our city has to offer.

‘We’re confident we have what it takes to deliver this significant sporting event.’

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