For the first time ever, Old Trafford will not host the Super League Grand Final.
The event was set to be staged at Manchester United’s Theatre Of Dreams on November 28th but the club’s Champions League fixtures have resulted in the date being unavailable.
Super League were offered the venue a week later on December 6th. But that wasn’t satisfactory for Super League as player contracts run out on November 30th and it causes further issues with the current schedule.
A new host is now being pursued and a decision will be made shortly, with just six weeks until the event.
It appears extremely likely that the game with be based in the north and most probably at a football facility.
With no fans allowed at the game, organisers are seeking an attractive stadium that is also cost-effective. That will almost certainly rule out venues such as Anfield, St James’ Park and The University of Bolton, all used to previously showcase rugby league events.
Despite the ground set to be empty, they want an aesthetically pleasing facility that will give off the impression of a showpiece event, something the Grand Final most certainly is.
The prospect of taking the game to Huddersfield’s John Smith’s Stadium or Hull FC’s KCOM Stadium are likely to be discussed. With neither club set to be in the top four, there is no risk of them gaining an unnecessary advantage while their size and facilities provide a facility that can be dressed up for the occasion.
Headingley is another option but Leeds’ potential involvement in the play-off picture may put off those plans.