The 2022 Betfred Challenge Cup final will be held at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium, the Rugby Football League has announced.
In a change to tradition, the game’s showpiece event will move away from Wembley, which has acted as hosts since 1929, before returning to the national stadium in 2023.
In another change, the final will revert to a May date in 2022 and the RFL has also announced a two-year extension to Betfred’s sponsorship of the men’s, women’s and wheelchair cups.
The 62,850-capacity Tottenham stadium, which was opened on the site of the old White Hart Lane in April 2019, was due to host an Ashes Test in 2020 before the series was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
It will now host the 121st Challenge Cup final, marking the 125th anniversary of the first in 1897, and also the final of the 1895 Cup, the knockout competition for non-Super League clubs, on Saturday May 28.
Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy said: “We are delighted to bring yet another major sporting event to our stadium.
“The Challenge Cup final is a game that is steeped in history and we are proud to now be a part of that, while further establishing our stadium as a leading sports and entertainment destination in London.”
Wembley was not available in late May but will return as hosts for 2023.
Ralph Rimmer, the RFL chief executive, said: “It’s fantastic news for the sport to be able to confirm Betfred as title partners for the Men’s, Women’s and Wheelchair Challenge Cups for two more years – and to take our traditional showpiece to a magnificent new venue at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2022 before we return to Wembley in 2023.
“We have an excellent partnership with Wembley which has been invaluable as we have worked together through the pandemic to stage the last two finals in October and July.
“For 2022, we were unable to find a space in the schedule that worked for both the RFL’s and BBC’s desire to play the final earlier in the year.
“We are sure that rugby league supporters and players will be excited by the prospect of experiencing the Betfred Challenge Cup final at a new venue in the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2022, with a return to the event’s spiritual home at Wembley in 2023.
“At this stage, we are planning for community clubs to return to the early rounds of the men’s competition, which was not possible in 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“That will restore a dimension of the competition which we really missed this year and I know Betfred are relishing that prospect, as well as the finals at Tottenham and Wembley.”
Fred Done, founder and owner of Betfred, said: “Following on from this year’s terrific final I am delighted to be extending our Challenge Cup sponsorship for a further two years.”