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Super League Grand Final in doubt – Five venues to consider

It’s been well-documented that the RFL’s current contract to host the Grand Final at Old Trafford is set to expire, the 2024 Super League Grand Final being the last under this current deal.

As such there have been huge questions about what is to happen in the future for Super League’s biggest game, and where exactly it will be hosted.

Adding to this is the fact Sir Jim Radcliffe has reportedly drafted up plans to replace Old Trafford with a newly built stadium at Old Trafford.

This could end the Super League Grand Final at Old Trafford. Since the inception of the Super League Grand Final in 1998 the game has always been played at Old Trafford, the one exception being during the Covid-19-affected 2020 season when Hull FC’s ground held the game.

That’s meant that Old Trafford has become a key part of rugby league history with many fans advocating for its continued use based on the fact it is viewed as ‘traditional’.

Despite this, the RFL have a huge decision to make as to whether they extend the contract with the venue, or if they opt for another stadium to showcase Super League’s biggest game.

The expiring contract was confirmed by RL Commercial’s Rhodri Jones in June when he spoke on BBC 5 Live’s rugby league podcast.

Jones explained: “Our contract runs to the end of 2024. Clearly, there’s ownership changes there potentially and with that stadium development.”

One vital comment from Jones though was when he concluded: “Just because we’ve done it for the last 25 years doesn’t mean it’s the right thing for us right now.”

And so with that sentiment in mind, it would appear that the RFL could be more than happy to leave Old Trafford, and here are five possible destinations to host the Super League Grand Final instead.

Anfield – Liverpool

Anfield has hosted several rugby league events since the new Main Stand was opened. Credit: Richard Long/News Images

If the RFL are keen to keep the showpiece game in the North West then Anfield would make perfect sense with the stadium only 30 miles from the Grand Final’s current home of Old Trafford.

Anfield has also hosted rugby league games and events before with Wigan Warriors’ famous World Club Challenge victory over Penrith Panthers in 1991 coming at Liverpool Football Club’s home stadium.

The ground has also played host to Magic Weekend in 2019 drawing in a combined crowd of just under 57,000 across the two days. With a capacity of over 61,000 then the stadium could sell out for a Grand Final and create an incredible atmosphere.

Emirates Stadium – London

Picture by Will Palmer/ – 12/11/2022 – Rugby League – Rugby League World Cup 2021 – Semi Final – England v Samoa – Emirates Stadium, London, England – A general view outside the Emirates Stadium as fans begin to arrive prior to the 2021 Rugby League World Cup match between England and Samoa

The Emirates is home to Arsenal FC but it’s another venue that the RFL have utilised for rugby league matches, most notably England’s World Cup semi-final clash with Samoa in 2022.

That game saw an attendance of 40,489 to witness one of the sport’s most incredible and dramatic games in recent memory and with the stadium holding a capacity of just over 60,000 then it would be more than suitable for a Grand Final.

Whilst it might prove unpopular with traditionalists who enjoy the game being in the north, hosting the game down south would be sure to attract new fans to the sport which is something that new London Broncos signing Sadiq Adebiyi spoke to Serious About Rugby League about.

Ethiad Stadium – Manchester

Manchester City's Ethiad Stadium could be an option to host the Grand Final

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND, 7th January 2024. Emirates FA Cup sponsorship inside the Ethiad stadium before the The FA Cup match at the Etihad Stadium, MANCHESTER. Andrew Yates / Sportimage EDITORIAL USE ONLY.

One of the grounds that make the most logical sense is in fact for the Grand Final to cross the city from red to blue and be hosted at Manchester City’s Ethiad Stadium. It’s a distance of just under five miles that separates the two stadiums meaning fans wouldn’t experience much change in their travel at all.

It’s also a far more modern stadium, opening in 2002, and it is already being expanded to host a crowd of 61,000 which would make it perfect for the Grand Final.

With the RFL being based in the Ethiad campus it would also become a likely contender given the already strong links between the RFL and the stadium owners, thus making a contract more easy to negotiate.

St James Park – Newcastle

Picture by Alex Whitehead/ – 04/06/2023 – Rugby League – Betfred Super League: Magic Weekend – St Helens vs Huddersfield Giants – St James’ Park, Newcastle, England – A General View (GV).

Whilst Magic Weekend has been taken away from St James Park for 2024 at least it doesn’t change the fact that it’s an incredible venue and one that has proven incredibly popular with rugby league fans.

The decision to move Magic Weekend from Newcastle was met with plenty of discontent among fans, meaning that opting to move the Grand Final to the North-East may well be very popular.

It’s a stadium that has shown it can adequately host rugby league games, can also support a large Grand Final-level crowd and it is already a fan favourite which would make it a strong option.

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium – London

Tottenham Hotspur Stadium could be an option to play host to the Grand Final

Huddersfield Giants v Wigan Warriors Picture by Simon Wilkinson/ – 28/05/2022 – Rugby League – Betfred Challenge Cup Final – Huddersfield Giants v Wigan Warriors – Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, London, England – General view London England Copyright: x xSWpix.comxt/axPhotographyxHubxLtdxSimonxWilkinson/SWpix.comx

Another possible curveball choice would see the Grand Final head to the capital and take place at one of the country’s newest and best stadiums in the shape of the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Rugby league has already ventured to the ground with the 2022 Challenge Cup Final taking place at the venue, that game drawing in a crowd of 51,628, and a Grand Final could see even more head down south.

With IMG’s view to expand the supporter base then there could be an initiative to take the game beyond the heartlands and if you’re going to do that then you might as well select the best and most modern stadium available, namely the Hotspur Stadium.

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