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EPCR hopeful of October Champions Cup final in Marseille

This season’s Heineken Champions Cup final could be played in October. That's the hope of EPCR ...

This season’s Heineken Champions Cup final could be played in October.

That's the hope of EPCR chief executive Vincent Gaillard. Both the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup were suspended prior to the quarter-finals being played due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Stade Velodrome in Marseille was due to host European finals weekend on May 22/23, but that could now happen at the same venue on October 17/18.

"We have several scenarios in mind", Gaillard told L'Equipe.

"But the most advanced is this: the quarter and semi-finals would be scheduled between the end of August and the end of September and the final on the weekend of October 17-18 in Marseille."

Leinster and Ulster remain in the competition, and are due to play Saracens (home) and Toulouse respectively.

What may complicate matters is having quarter-final matches being played in three different countries, each of which may have differing coronavirus-related protocols in place for Gaillard's preferred September window.

Indeed, earlier this week French Sports Minister Roxana Maracineau said that sport did not enter the government's thinking regarding its restrictions.

Clermont and Toulouse are both due to host quarter-final games in France.

With that in mind, Gaillard does not rule out playing games in empty stadiums, "We only have three games to play and in the worst case, we are determined to play them behind closed doors," he admits.

"We prefer to go to the end than not to play. We are rather optimistic.

"But you must take all the usual precautions. They are of course linked to sanitary and logistical conditions.

"But also the medical conditions vis-à-vis the players.

"When all these conditions are met, we can play."

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Covid-19 Epcr Heineken Champions Cup Leinster Marseille Ulster