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Challenge Cup Final TV coverage to clash with two major sporting events

Challenge Cup

The sports of football and rugby union have threatened to detract from the Challenge Cup final next month at Wembley.

Wigan Warriors and Warrington Wolves booked their place in the final this weekend, with big victories over Hull KR and Huddersfield Giants respectively.

Wigan soundly defeated Hull KR 38-6 in Doncaster, ensuring there wasn’t a repeat of their loss to the same opposition at the same stage as last year, and now have the chance to win the competition for a record-extending 21st time.

Meanwhile, Warrington Wolves hammered Huddersfield Giants 46-10 in a feisty affair to make it six wins out of their last seven games.

Sheffield Eagles will also face Wakefield Trinity in the 1895 Cup final, while St Helens and Leeds Rhinos will face off in the women’s final too, as part of an eyecatching day of rugby league. However, it won’t be one without its problems.

More Rugby League on TV problems

BBC tv pundit and former player Jamie Peacock during coverage of Challenge Cup

Credit: Imago Images

There have been numerous broadcasting issues this year. Now, for the showpiece event, there are more issues.

The final will be on BBC One at 3pm on Saturday 8th June, in its traditional slot. However, it has now been revealed that the Rugby Union Premiership final will be on ITV at the same time, meaning the game will have to compete with another sport for viewers.

This is just another problem in what has been a terrible season for the Challenge Cup being broadcast.

Surprisingly, the BBC didn’t broadcast any of the Challenge Cup fixtures on live terrestrial TV in Round 6, including a huge Leeds Rhinos vs St Helens clash.

Leeds v St Helens was shown on BBC iPlayer and the BBC Red Button but wasn’t available on any of the BBC’s regular channels.

Instead, The One Show, Celebrity Mastermind and Would I Lie To You was shown on BBC One and on BBC Two, the Great British Menu: Banquet Special and Gardener’s World were seen as more important. In addition, only two of the quarter-finals were available to watch.

A Challenge Cup tradition abandoned

Castleford train on the Wembley pitch before their Challenge Cup final in 2021

Credit: Imago Images

The RFL have confirmed that rugby teams won’t be able to do the traditional ‘Captain’s Run’ on the day before the finals this year.

This is because the FA have decided to stage a friendly for England’s men’s football team against Iceland the night before, despite previously committing to the Challenge Cup finals, and 1895 Cup final, being held there.

Therefore, the football teams, it has been decided, need the pitch to themselves.

This shouldn’t be a huge problem for the teams’ preparations, but it’s a tradition that has persisted for years, and it’s just another thing threatening the history of the world’s oldest continuous sporting competition.

It’s poor from the organisers, and the people running the stadium, to put on a meaningless friendly football match the night before such an important event that has been scheduled for months already, whilst also showing how little they care for our great sport.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Eric T Cat

    May 23, 2024 at 5:35 pm

    Stadt a new tradition, play it somewhere that wants the game, will make an event of it, and move the sport forward.

    As for the clash with the Union match, do you want to sleep in the afternoon or be entertained? Sleep, then watch the Union, entertained go for rge League match. My ex-wife, a Surrey girl, and I agreed on little, but her question on the differences between the two codes was “Is Rugby Union for those not good enough to play Rugby League?”.

  2. Anthony Dyson

    May 23, 2024 at 7:20 pm

    This is what img wanted to happen so there trying to scrap magic week end from newcastle so they used the challenge cup as a scape goat then were not even furst on the list for the tv veiwers think we should get rid of img and go back to what its been because if it wasnt for them changeing dates we would be at newcastle

  3. Anonymous

    May 24, 2024 at 7:50 am

    This is why the game needs to be moved to a northern stadium where the game belongs

  4. MARGARET BOYES

    May 24, 2024 at 7:58 am

    Rugby League does not get the recognition it deserves

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