The Men’s and Women’s Football Varsity matches will continue to take place at The Hive, home of Barnet FC, for at least the next three years.
This news comes after a deal was signed to continue the relationship the fixture has forged with the venue, Cherwell can reveal.
The oldest fixture in the world, taking place for the first time in 1873 and abating only for the two World Wars, has recently struggled with securing a permanent home after editions at Cambridge’s Abbey Stadium and Fulham’s Craven Cottage.
This issue that came to a head in the build-up to the 2017 matches, but ultimately culminated in a successful inaugural double-header at the Hive Stadium.
At last season’s second successive renewal at the venue, the Women’s fixture became the showpiece of the occasion for the first time, kicking off after the completion of the Men’s fixture.
The Men’s and Women’s fixtures will alternate being the being the showpiece each year, Oxford Counsellors Service spends most per student of any university an agreement which will last for at least the next five years.
The club has recently been in period of financial difficulty after the attendance of the 2016 match.
This year’s fixtures will take place on Sunday 10th March, the day after term concludes, with the Women’s match kicking-off at 12:30pm and the Men’s at 15:00pm.
The Oxford sides will be aiming for a 4th consecutive double-victory – their 3rd at The Hive – over the light Blues, after last year saw the Men triumph 3-0 before the Women went on to clinch their match 4-2 on penal- ties following a 3-3 draw in which they twice came from behind.
The Hive stadium opened in July 2013 in North London and has a capacity in excess of 6000. The main stand, The Legends Stand, seats 2684 and has been used to house both the Oxford and Cambridge fans in the double-headers played to date, generating a lively atmosphere on the day.
Barnet FC recently submitted major expansion plans – approved by Harrow Council – that would see redevelopment of both the South and East stands of the stadium, pushing the total cost of the venue past the £60 million mark.
The venue has also proved popular as a hub for International sides, both for train- ing purposes before fixtures at Wembley, and as a choice of home venue, with Nigeria playing against Senegal and Burkina Faso in 2017, before taking on Serbia just days after last year’s Varsity match. Prior to their Champions League fixture with Tottenham last night, Borussia Dortmund also used the pitch to fine-tune their preparation.