Champions Cup, Challenge Cup finals suspended

Last Updated: 24/03/20 9:43am

Saracens were winners of last season's Champions Cup
Saracens were winners of last season’s Champions Cup

This season’s Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup semi-finals and finals have been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, European Professional Club Rugby has confirmed.

EPCR announced last week the quarter-finals of both competitions, which were set to take to place on the weekend of April 3-5, were to be postponed and they have now taken the decision to suspend the semi-finals (May 1-3) and finals in Marseille on May 22-23 as well.

Last week, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) confirmed the end of the 2019/20 season for all league, cup and county rugby in England except for the Gallagher Premiership.

The Guinness PRO14 final has been cancelled, with the competition suspended until further notice.

EPCR, though, says it is committed to completing the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup campaigns.

EPCR said in a statement: “Following a conference call yesterday (Monday 23 March), the EPCR Board can reconfirm the suspension of this season’s Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup tournaments and has furthermore decided to postpone the semi-final matches, as well as the 2020 Marseille finals, which were due to be played on the weekends of 1/2/3 May and 22/23 May respectively.

“In making the decision, the Board is abiding by the official directives and recommendations of the relevant authorities in its territories to restrict the COVID-19 pandemic.

“In light of the earlier postponement of its quarter-final matches and with fixtures in Europe’s professional league competitions currently suspended due to the public health crisis, EPCR believes it necessary to provide as much clarity as possible to all stakeholders regarding the knockout stages of its tournaments.

“To that end, EPCR is working with the leagues and unions to restructure a conclusion to its season as part of a wider rescheduling of the remainder of the season in Europe, with all contingencies underpinned by the requirement to protect the health and welfare of players, club staff, match officials, supporters and the wider rugby community.

“EPCR remains committed to completing the 2019/20 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup season, and it is planned to reschedule the quarter-final and semi-final matches, as well as the Marseille finals, in line with fixtures in the professional league competitions, subject to advice from government and local authorities.

“Tickets already purchased for the Marseille finals will be valid for the new dates when announced, and from that point, fans who are unable to attend on the new dates will be entitled to a refund.

“EPCR would like to thank Olympique de Marseille, the staff at the Orange Vélodrome and all local and regional partners for their continuing collaboration, and an update regarding the knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup will be communicated as soon as practicable.”

Source : Sky Sports