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San Siro set to stage the 2015 Heineken Cup final*

*If the European competition even exists at that stage.

The captains of the six Italian clubs pictured at today's Heineken Cup launch in Milan.
The captains of the six Italian clubs pictured at today's Heineken Cup launch in Milan.
Image: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

THE ERC HAS announced that Milan’s San Siro stadium is “ready” to stage the 2015 Heineken Cup final.

The move will be seen by many as a crafty one on the European governing body’s part, particularly with chairman Jean-Pierre Lux saying, “It would be a shame if Italian rugby lost such a major opportunity to promote the game in their country.”

Speaking at today’s Italian Heineken Cup launch in Milan, the ERC chief admitted that European club rugby is in “a difficult period” but maintained his hope that a solution can be found.

The 2015 showpiece would be the first time Italy stages a major European club rugby final, having been awarded the right to host it in February 2012. The ERC board confirmed the 80,000-capacity San Siro as the venue for the deciding game in 2015 “provided agreement on a new European club rugby Accord for next season and beyond can be reached.”

President of the Federazione Italiana Rugby (FIR), Alfredo Gavazzi, was understandably pleased by the chance that Italian rugby has to host the game.

We are especially proud that a Heineken Cup final could be staged in Italy as 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.”

The FIR head also dismissed the viability of a breakaway tournament led by the English and French clubs at the end of the current season.

“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 ERC will meet on the 23rd of October for the latest discussions and negotiations on the Heineken Cup. A final at the San Siro would indeed by a magnificent experiences for fans, and a genuine boost for Italian rugby. It must be hoped that the warring unions can come to a solution whereby this potential event is made a reality.

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Murray Kinsella

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