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Heineken Champions Cup set for September return, finals planned for mid-October

The EPCR have confirmed the Heineken Champions Cup will restart in mid-September, with the compet...

The EPCR have confirmed the Heineken Champions Cup will restart in mid-September, with the competition to be completed by October 17.

The tournament was suspended in March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, with tournament organisers confirming this morning they plan to resume from the quarter-final stage, which will be played over the weekend of September 18/19/20.

Leinster are due to face Saracens in the last eight, while Ulster are set to be away from home against Toulouse, with the semi-finals slated to take place one week later on the weekend of September 25/26/27.

The EPCR say they remain hopeful of retaining Marseille as the venue for the finals of both the Champions and Challenge Cup, which have been set for October 17 and 16 respectively. However they are yet to decide whether or not fans will be able to attend.

"Subject to government guidelines and with the health and welfare of players, club staff, match officials, supporters and the wider rugby community to the fore, it is now planned that the quarter-finals of both tournaments will be played on the weekend of 18/19/20 September with the Semi-finals scheduled for the weekend of 25/26/27 September.

"Exact fixture dates, venues, kick-off times and TV coverage will be announced in the near future.

"The European season will conclude with the Challenge Cup final on Friday, 16 October followed by the Heineken Champions Cup final on Saturday, 17 0ctober. EPCR remains committed to staging the matches in Marseille, 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.

"EPCR and the local organising committee in Marseille intend to clarify the position regarding the finals, including details of ticket refunds where applicable, as soon as possible."

The EPCR also say they are still considering what format the 2020/21 season will be played under, but have set the weekend of December 11/12/13 as their target to begin the next campaign.

Their statement reads: "As previously communicated, new Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup tournament formats for the 2020/21 season are being considered as a consequence of 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.

"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. An official announcement regarding formats will be made once all discussions are concluded."

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Epcr European Heineken Champions Cup Leinster Rugby Marseille Ulster Rugby