San Siro in Milan to host 2015 Heineken Cup final
ERC acknowledge present state of new negotiations in making announcement
Luke McAlister of New Zealand kicks a penalty as the New Zealand substitutes look on from behind the posts during the sold out match between Italy and New Zealand at the San Siro in November 2009. Photograph: Paul Gilham/Getty Images
Even though the future of the Heineken Cup remains in doubt in its present format, the ERC have announced that the 2015 final of the competition will be held at the San Siro stadium in Milan.
It would see a first staging of the final in the country, with the Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, home to Serie A sides AC and Inter Milan, capable of holding a crowd of 80,000.
Today’s announcement came at the launch of the Heineken Cup in Italy, although a statement from ERC did recognise the present state of negotiations on a new European club rugby accord.
The statement read: “Following a decision taken in February 2012 to award the finals to Italy, the Board of ERC has now confirmed the iconic 80,000-capacity stadium as the venue for the 2015 final of the world’s most competitive club rugby tournament provided agreement on a new European club rugby Accord for next season and beyond can be reached.”
Speaking at the event in Milan, the president of the Federazione Italiana Rugby (FIR), Alfredo Gavazzi, said: “We are especially proud that a Heineken Cup final could be staged in Italy as this is a tournament which plays a key role in the continued development of our top clubs, and which also is critical for the progress of our national team.”
Addressing the issue of the current negotiations towards the formulation of a new accord, Gavazzi added: “Regarding the future, I do not believe that an Anglo-French competition would be in any way suitable. The six unions have stated that they wish to keep the Heineken Cup, and they are absolutely united on this point of view.
“The Italian Federation also believes that it is crucial to keep four of our clubs in the Amlin Challenge Cup to allow our young players to develop. Overall, I am confident that an agreement can be reached.”
ERC chairman, Jean-Pierre Lux, said: “We in are in a difficult period for European club rugby, and I too hope that a solution can be found and then we can look forward to 2015 and a celebration of 20 years of European club rugby in Milan. It would be a shame if Italian rugby lost such a major opportunity to promote the game in their country.”