The Challenge Cup final needs to stay at Wembley and there shouldn’t even be a debate about it.
It seems like every time the Challenge Cup final comes around nowadays, we get the usual talk of whether it should stay at Wembley or move away.
But it should not even be a discussion.
The Challenge Cup has a rich, and I mean mega rich, history with Wembley and to move it away from the national stadium would be totally wrong.
This debate only comes up because the final doesn’t sell-out anymore. But how long has it not sold out for?
The Rugby Football League bought Club Wembley last year because hardly any members turned up, so the RFL decided to offer it at a cheaper rate to fans and rightly so. What people need to realise though is that Club Wembley takes around 15,000-20,000 people off the final attendance figure.
So, whereas in the past finals in the modern era, the attendance exceeded 80,000, they were really 60,000-70,000.
Does it really matter that it’s not a sell out? We should be talking more about the amount of fantastic talent on show this week, but it seems we are just talking about the amounts of bums on seats instead.
People talk about taking it to Cardiff, but why? Why would you take it away from the place with so many rugby league memories? Would you take the rugby league statue to Cardiff? Come on, let’s be real, a trip to Wembley seems far more intriguing than a trip to the Millennium Stadium.
The debate has sparked up because Catalans Dragons have reached the final this year. At the time of writing on Wednesday afternoon, it is understood that they have sold just over 3,000 tickets for the final, which is a solid effort seeing as they get 8,000-10,000 in attendance at home games in Perpignan.
Warrington Wolves will no doubt bring a good number of fans to Wembley, as they always do, so if there are over 45,000 in attendance then it should be regarded as a success.
The Challenge Cup hasn’t lost its meaning, as some say. There are just other concepts to consider now, like Magic Weekend.
Not as many neutrals go to Wembley these days because they would rather go to Magic Weekend and watch their team play, rather than watch two teams they don’t support.
The date of the final needs to change as well. The bank holiday weekend in August is a ridiculous time to have the Challenge Cup final. It costs a fortune for fans (mainly from the North) to make the trip up and there are always issues with the trains on bank holiday weekends.
Let’s take the final back to May, but keep the Challenge Cup final at Wembley. It has not lost its magic.