Italy ‘to host 2015 Heineken Cup final’

The San Siro in Milan. Picture: Public Domain
The San Siro in Milan. Picture: Public Domain
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THE 80,000-capacity San Siro in Milan has been earmarked to stage the 2015 Heineken Cup final by organisers European Rugby Cup (ERC).

The Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, home of AC Milan and Inter Milan, has been confirmed as the 2015 venue by ERC.

What form next season’s competition will take, though, remains up in the air, with grave doubt surrounding the tournament’s future beyond this term .

Leading English and French clubs are currently service a notice period to quit ERC-run competitions, and they intend taking part in a new Rugby Champions Cup next year.

ERC recently appointed a mediator, Canadian lawyer Graeme Mew, in the quest to reach agreement for a new tournament accord covering the Heineken Cup and Amlin Challenge Cup tournaments.

Premiership Rugby and France’s Ligue Nationale de Rugby, though, say they have no intention of participating in ERC talks on October 23 and 24.

If the 2015 Heineken final happens, it would be the first time for Italy to stage it.

“We are especially proud that a Heineken Cup final could be staged in Italy, “ Italian Rugby Federation president Alfredo Gavazzi said at the Italian launch of this season’s Heineken and Amlin tournaments on Monday.

“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.

“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.

And ERC chairman Jean-Pierre Lux added: “We 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.”