Kingsholm hosted a Heineken Cup quarter-final this season, between Gloucester and Munster, and there will be space for approximately 16,000 fans at the venue on final day.
ERC has received some feedback from supporters of both Clubs who have concerns with the selection of Kingsholm as the final venue.
I would like to thank everyone who has contacted us and to take the opportunity to outline the process and reasons why the Kingsholm Stadium was selected.
If you consider the quality of many of the teams competing in the tournament and the fact that it is one of only two European titles available each season, the European Challenge Cup final has an important status and deserves an appropriate stage for the teams and supporters.
ERC aims to give the European Challenge Cup final the best opportunity to have a great atmosphere with a capacity crowd - live on television in the UK and France - and to therefore put the tournament in the shop window in the best possible light.
The process of selecting the venue began several months ago. ERC worked with Premier Rugby, the Clubs involved and the RFU in identifying potential venues, and following the support of the ERC Board, the Kingsholm Stadium was selected for this final pairing. We have consulted with both Bath and Worcester before the semi-finals so as to be in a position to confirm the final venue with enough time to build a memorable occasion for the teams and their fans.
A number of venues were discounted because of lack of availability and or because the venues were either too small or too large for the final. The attendances for the last five finals have ranged from 7,000 to 18,000 with the average of just under 12,000 per final. Last weekend's semi-finals attracted 6,795 fans at Sixways and 8,216 at the Rec.
Kingsholm Stadium, which recently opened its impressive new standm, is located in Gloucester and given the mid-day kick-off is easily accessible for fans from both teams, it offers excellent facilities and a staff that are familiar with tournament as former winners. A sell-out crowd of 16,000, if achieved, would lead to a wonderful atmosphere for fans at the match and those watching on television across Europe. This would also serve as an important promotional opportunity for the tournament.
We are currently finalising ticketing details with both Bath Rugby and Worcester Warriors and I can confirm that both teams will receive a minimum 7,000 tickets each, which they will distribute to their fans directly.
I would like to wish both Bath Rugby and Worcester Warriors every success in the build up to European Challenge Cup final and I look forward to another exciting final and enjoyable occasion in this growing European tournament.
European Challenge Cup Finals
2007 ASM Clermont Auvergne 22 v Bath Rugby 16 - Twickenham Stoop 10,134
2006 Gloucester Rugby 36 v London Irish 34 - Twickenham Stoop, 12,053
2005 Sale Sharks 27 v Pau 3, Kassam Stadium - 7,230
2004 ASM Clermont Auvergne 26 v Harlequins 27 - 13,123
2003 London Wasps 48 v Bath Rugby 30 -18,074