Rugby League: Challenge Cup final moves to Scotland

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The Independent Online
THE GAME'S biggest event will move outside England for the first time when the Challenge Cup final is staged at Murrayfield in the Millennium season.

The home of Scottish rugby union has been earmarked as the venue for rugby league's greatest gathering of the clans in the year 2000, when Wembley will be being rebuilt.

The League had also considered Twickenham and the new national stadium in Cardiff as possible temporary homes, but Edinburgh will be widely welcomed as the most imaginative answer to the question of where to play the match next year.

"We had to ensure that during the time Wembley is out of commission we located a high quality stadium that matched the final's status as a sporting event and we have no doubt that Murrayfield fulfils that requirement," said the Rugby League's chief executive, Neil Tunnicliffe.

"During the many years that the game has been staged at Wembley, rugby league followers have become accustomed to celebrating the event by taking a weekend away in London. Our decision to move the game to the capital city of Scotland will afford our supporters a new opportunity to travel to one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

"We have consulted properly with our supporters as well as with our clubs to take their preferences into account when making this important choice."

The code will be making its debut at the stadium, although there have been recent internationals in Glasgow and an "on the road" fixture between Bradford Bulls and London Broncos at Hearts' Tynecastle ground last year.

There is also a growing amateur league scene in Scotland, which Tunnicliffe said the decision to take the game's showpiece there was designed to foster.

The obvious drawback is that Murrayfield's capacity is only 67,500, enough to accommodate last season's relatively poorly supported final but only sufficient for three other attendances since the Second World War.

No decision has been made yet on the venue for 2001.