The match has been moved from the weekend with the consent of both the Whitehaven Club and the RFL. The change has arisen because of the media spotlight on the match between Wigan Athletic and Manchester United which is scheduled to take place on Sunday afternoon in front of a worldwide TV audience and is likely to decide the FA Premiership Title.
Following recent unfounded media criticism of the JJB Stadium pitch directed at Rugby League and the potential worldwide media disaster for Rugby League if it rained on the Friday night and damage was caused to the pitch before Sunday’s high-profile game, the Wigan Chairman, Ian Lenagan, decided not to play the match on the Friday night to protect the reputation of both Wigan Warriors and Wigan Athletic as well as the town of Wigan and sport of Rugby League.
Wigan Rugby League Chairman Ian Lenagan explained,
"Dave Whelan and I were in complete agreement that the Challenge Cup game should not be played on Friday for the reasons given."
"The Club has been working tirelessly since the draw was made last Tuesday to find the most appropriate alternative venue and time for this fixture. Our choices in priority order were at Orrell on Saturday afternoon, the JJB Stadium on Monday night, at another local club on Saturday afternoon or, finally, away at Whitehaven on Saturday. The RFL would have had to rule if agreement between the two clubs could not be reached.
"The Edge Hall Road Stadium at Orrell would have been a good compromise choice to host occasional fixtures of this nature but the shortage of time to deal with safety, traffic, parking and other issues and to consult properly with residents and other authorities eventually precluded this option. However, a great deal of useful time and effort has been invested during the past week which will be directed to attempt to bring Orrell up to the appropriate standard for occasional future matches.
"Another option open to the Club to allow the fixture to be played locally was to play at Hilton Park in Leigh. The Wigan Club would like to thank Leigh Centurions for their assistance when we investigated this option.
"Reversing the fixture to play it at Whitehaven was considered but the Wigan Club, supported by the RFL, was keen to ensure that the game was played within the Wigan boundaries, as drawn, so that Warriors supporters could attend the game."
"Wigan Warriors would like to thank the Whitehaven Board and Officials for agreeing to the Monday night change which is not ideal for either club but is the best practical and financial compromise in these circumstances."
The Club can also announce that supporters of both clubs will be able to gain admission to this match at discounted prices. Only the East and West Stands will be open and general admission prices are £14 for adults and £7 for concessions.
There are further discounts for both Wigan and Whitehaven season ticket holders. Tickets will be priced at £12 for adults, £6 for over 60’s and students, and £1 for juniors under 16 when pre-purchasing before 2pm on Saturday 10th May.
Tickets go on sale on Wednesday (30th April) and current Warriors season ticket holders will have until next Tuesday (6th May) at 5pm to secure their reserved seat. Any season ticket holder seats that haven’t been purchased will be released for general sale at 9am the following day (Wednesday 7th May).
Tickets are available from the JJB Stadium Ticket Office and the Ticket Hotline on 0871 66-33-552 while Whitehaven fans will be able to purchase tickets from the Recreation Ground in due course.