Good news for fans of Wembley finalists

THERE could be up to 45,000 spectators at Wembley for the finals of the Challenge Cup and 1895 Cup next month.

Castleford will take on St Helens after Featherstone face York in a double-header at the national stadium on Saturday, July 17.

Following discussions between the RFL, the government, public health authorities, Brent Council and Wembley Stadium, the matches have been added to the third phase of the ‘events research programme’.

RFL chief commercial officer Mark Foster said: “We are still going through the full details, but the indications are that we will be working to a 50 per cent (Wembley) capacity, which is around 40,000 to 45,000.

“This is fantastic news for the sport as a whole, and especially for the tens of thousands of supporters of Castleford Tigers, St Helens, Featherstone Rovers and York City Knights who will now be able to attend Rugby League Challenge Cup Final day – one of the country’s traditional sporting highlights.

“We would like to place on record our thanks to all at DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport), Public Health England, Wembley Stadium and Brent Council who have helped to get us to this stage.

“We fully expect that a form of Covid certification will be required for all who attend on the day. This will consist of either having had both doses of the vaccine at least 14 days before the event, or proof of a negative lateral flow test, which can be taken at home or at a recognised centre free of charge, within 48 hours of the event.”

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston said: “Our phenomenal vaccine roll-out and increasing uptake of the NHS app means the Challenge Cup final and the 1895 Cup final will now take place in front of tens of thousands of fans at Wembley Stadium, which is a very positive sign ahead of the Rugby League World Cup later this year.

“These highlights of the Rugby League calendar will be an important part of the events research programme, helping to explore how we can safely return fans to sporting and cultural venues at ever greater numbers.”

It is expected that tickets will go on sale initially to members and/or season-ticket holders at 9am tomorrow (Tuesday June 22) for an exclusive three-day period where they can buy up to an additional five tickets for friends and family – with any remaining tickets going on general sale on Friday (June 25).

The RFL will announce further details around conditions of entry, consent required from all fans to opt into the event research programme and NHS test and trace requirements early next week.

The RFL will also be selling a number of hospitality packages.