The final of the Top 14 elite league in France will be held in Barcelona’s Nou Camp at the end of the 2015-2016 season, the French national rugby union league (LNR) announced on Tuesday.
It will be the first time that the Bouclier de Brennus trophy, the top award in French rugby, will be contested outside of France and is due to the fact that the usual venue, the Stade de France in Paris, will be in use during the 2016 European Championship football finals.
Usually the Top 14 final is held earlier in the month of June, but the World Cup, which England is hosting in September/October of next year, resulted in the match being pushed back to the weekend of June 25-26.
That clashes with the last 16 round of the Euro 2016, which starts on June 10.
LNR president Paul Goze said several European venues had been considered such as London’s Wembley Stadium, Rome and Milan, but the 98,000 capacity Nou Camp won the day.
“Barcelona is only 180 kilometres from Perpignan and is well served either by road or my flights,” he added.
In another change to tradition, the Top 14 final will be moved from the Saturday to the Friday evening to avoid competition from the football matches.
Many of the top French rugby clubs are based in the south close to Spain, including last year’s Top 14 champions Toulon, Montpellier, Perpignan and Toulouse.