It has been confirmed today that Catalans Dragons will host their Super League match against Wigan Warriors at FC Barcelona’s iconic Camp Nou stadium. The match will be held on Saturday 18th May in Catalonia and will be the first rugby league match held at the 99000-plus capacity venue.
After their Challenge Cup triumph in August, Steve McNamara’s Catalans team paraded the trophy at half-time of one of the football club’s La Liga matches and were promptly invited to host a league match at the stadium by Barcelona’s club president Josep Maria Bartomeu. It had long been suggested that Wigan would be the visitors and, today, that has been revealed.
“I think we do not realise yet the impact of this event for our club, our competition and our sport,” the Dragons chairman Bernard Guasch told the media following the confirmation. “The prospect of playing a game in one of the biggest stadiums in the world is exceptional and I would like to thank Josep Maria Bartomeu for giving us this opportunity,” he added.
Indeed, Wigan took their Super League clash against Hull FC to Australia early in 2018 and the Warriors’ chairman Ian Lenagan was understandably delighted to be taking part in a historic moment for the sport. “This is landmark moment in Super League’s history, and we are extremely proud to play our part,” he explained. “Having European rugby league’s two current title holders face each other in the iconic surroundings of the Camp Nou is a mouth-watering prospect and is one that I truly believe will be an historic occasion for the sport.”
It is also hoped – perhaps expected – that the football club would lend their considerable expertise in marketing the match and, in turn, could well introduce a new group of supporters to the game. Wigan fans historically have travelled well also and, with the game taking part in Catalonia, the Dragons should also be followed incredibly well which should make for a superb occasion.