Newcastle will stage European rugby’s showpiece weekend in May 2019 when the European Champions Cup, Challenge Cup and European Rugby Continental Shield finals are held in the city.
The news forms part of a double announcement which sees the 2018 finals awarded to Bilbao in Spain, with tournament organisers European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) deciding to make an early decision regarding the 2019 finals based on the strength of Newcastle’s bid.
Newcastle United’s St James’ Park will stage the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals, with Newcastle Falcons’ Kingston Park Stadium hosting the European Rugby Continental Shield final on the weekend of 10/11 May 2019.
Combined, they form one of the biggest weekends in club rugby, generating over €20.4m million in total economic impact.
The bid is a joint partnership between Newcastle City Council, NewcastleGateshead Initiative, Newcastle United Football Club and Newcastle Rugby Limited.
Councillor Nick Forbes, Leader of Newcastle City Council, said:
We’re absolutely thrilled that Newcastle has been named as host city for the 2019 European rugby finals, which is a real coup for the city and the North East.
Our vision is to make Newcastle the Great North City, and we were resolute in those ambitions as we worked to secure this top tier tournament for our city, and showcase what we have to offer. It will bring thousands of fans from across Europe to the North East, and with them a welcome boost to our local economy.
A tremendous amount of work has gone into securing this for Newcastle against stiff competition, and it’s paid off.
Lee Charnley, managing director of Newcastle United Football Club, said:
We’re delighted to welcome such a prestigious sporting event to St James’ Park, on the back of other hugely successful showpiece events including the Olympics, the Rugby World Cup and the annual Rugby League Magic Weekends over recent years.
Today’s announcement is fantastic news for the city and the region and we are sure that the European Champions Cup, Challenge Cup and the Continental Shield Competitions will prove every bit as popular with spectators in the region and across Europe as those previous events have been.
Mick Hogan, managing director of Newcastle Rugby Ltd, said:
This is great news for rugby in Newcastle and the wider North East region. The European Rugby Champions Cup and Challenge Cup are the best clubs and region-based competitions in world rugby, and it is very exciting for the city that we have managed to secure the 2019 finals.
The hard work starts now to deliver a truly memorable finals weekend. It’s not just the three finals over two days to look forward to but also a Rugby Village fan park and various community events in the lead up to the weekend. We will ensure that Newcastle 2019 leaves a real tangible legacy for rugby in the region, one which aids the growth and retention of participants at all levels.
Image: Representatives from Newcastle Falcons, Newcastle City Council, NGI and European Professional Club Rugby