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French Sports Ministry officially calls for Champions Cup postponement

French authorities have officially called for the postponement of Heineken Champions Cup matches....

French authorities have officially called for the postponement of Heineken Champions Cup matches. 

In a letter from the French Sports Ministry to French National League (LNR) general director, Emmanuel Eschalier, they've asked for the next two rounds to be suspended.

They wish to prevent the spread of the British variant of COVID-19.

It's now up to the EPCR to decide the fate of this season's Champions Cup and Challenge Cup.

European competitions are due to resume this coming weekend, with Leinster away to Northampton Saints on Friday night.

"I can confirm that the French government is asking French professional clubs to postpone their participation in European Cup matches, at least until early February 2021, both for matches organised in France and those held on British and Irish soil," the letter says.

"The government indeed wishes as a priority to fight against all risks of introduction of the variant VOC 202012/01 (the British strain of Covid-19) and its circulation on national territory.

They've left the rearranging of fixtures in the hands of the LNR, British and Irish rugby authorities.

A meeting regarding this year's Six Nations is due to take place on Tuesday morning.

Speaking before the French Ministry for Sport's announcement, EPCR chief executive Vincent Gaillard told BBC Radio 4, "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."

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