New dates set for European rugby finals

Alex Lozowski of Saracens is tackled during the European Champions Cup Round 2 match against Ospreys at Allianz Park on 23 November 2019 in Barnet, England.
Alex Lozowski of Saracens is tackled during the European Champions Cup Round 2 match against Ospreys at Allianz Park on 23 November 2019 in Barnet, England.
David Rogers/Getty Images

European club rugby's showpiece Champions Cup final will take place on 17 October, organisers said on Thursday.

It will be played a day after the final of the second-tier Challenge Cup.

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Marseille remains the scheduled venue for both matches but this could change depending on restrictions imposed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

European rugby union is yet to resume after going into lockdown in March as Covid-19 spread across the continent.

However, European Professional Club Rugby (EPRC) agreed revised dates for the knockout stages of their competitions at a board meeting on Wednesday,

"EPCR remains committed to staging the matches in Marseille," a statement said on Thursday.

"However, the situation is under review in light of public gathering and international travel restrictions which might be in place at the time of the finals."

At present, under regulations that will come into force on 11 July, gatherings of no more than 5 000 people will be allowed in France at sporting events.

The competitions will resume with the quarter-finals on the weekend of 18/19/20 September with the semi-finals the following weekend.

EPCR added they had also discussed a new format for the club competitions for next season due to the "widespread fixture disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic".

"A 24-club Heineken Champions Cup with eight representatives from each of Europe's leading league competitions is one of the options under discussion," they said.

"Any changes would apply to next season's tournaments, which are scheduled to start on the weekend of 11/12/13 December, only on an exceptional basis."

But with postponed international matches potentially taking place from October-December this year, with little break until the 2020/21 season is scheduled to start, top players face the prospect of a gruelling schedule.

World Rugby's ruling council is set to hold a vote on the global calendar on 30 June.

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