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EPCR | Heineken Champions Cup may be postponed, but not cancelled

The Heineken Champions Cup season looks set to be put on hold, but the head of the EPCR says they...

The Heineken Champions Cup season looks set to be put on hold, but the head of the EPCR says they will not be cancelling the competition.

EPCR Chief Executive Vincent Gaillard was speaking on BBC Radio 4 this morning, as the tournament organiser await a decision from French government officials, as to whether or not their teams can compete.

Tightened travel restrictions in France mean it's now looking unlikely rounds 3 and 4 will progress as scheduled in the next two weeks, and Gaillard says they are still awaiting a decision from French authorities.

"We're expecting a definitive directive from the French government which we have nor received so far, as to whether or not the French clubs will be able to participate in round 3 and 4 of this season's Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.

"This really will be for the government to decide, and I'm saying that because we have recently modified our protocols in light of some of the events that happened in round 2, in such a way that the protocol becomes compliant with what we know today of the French governments regulations.

"In that respect I think we will only regret if the postponement is the only solution we have. However, if the decision is taken and it's clear and unambiguous we will of course comply with it," he said.

All four Irish provinces were due to face French opposition at some point in the next two rounds of matches, with Munster scheduled to host Clermont Auvergne this Saturday, while Leinster, Ulster and Connacht were set to take on Montpellier, Toulouse and Racing 92 respectively the following weekend.

Should this weekend's games be postponed as expected, it will leave organisers with six rounds of games to complete, despite having just four available weekends in the rest of the calendar.

However, Vincent Gaillard says he is confident that even if this weekend's games cannot proceed as planned, they will be able to complete the Heineken Champions Cup season.

"We are going to start working on scenarios as soon as this decision comes in. What we do know today is we have four weekends currently scheduled over the month of April and May, but have six weekends required to finish the season. As soon as the decision comes in we will get together with our stakeholders and the three league and find the best way forward.

"I think a possible suspension is what we're looking at, but we are very confident that those weekends we have scheduled in April and May will be used in one way or another," he added.

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Connacht Rugby Epcr Heineken Champions Cup Leinster Rugby Munster Rugby Ulster Rugby Vincent Gaillars