Marseille calling as dates for Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals are set

By John Skilbeck 25 June 2020 6
Marseille calling as dates for Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals are set

European rugby chiefs are pushing ahead with plans for Marseille to stage the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals, after new dates were revealed on Thursday.

Both competitions had their quarter-finals line-ups confirmed before the coronavirus pandemic forced rugby to be put on hold.

The Premiership is expected to resume in England in August, as is the Pro14 featuring teams from Wales, Scotland, Italy, Ireland and South Africa. France's Top 14 2020-21 season is due to start in September.

There is now clarity on when the delayed European competitions will get back under way, with the quarter-finals to be played across September 18-20 and the semi-finals on September 25-27.

The Champions Cup final will take place on October 17, a day after the Challenge Cup showpiece, said European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR).

New venues for each match may need to be found if teams and supporters are not allowed to travel to the south of France.

An EPCR statement said: "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."

France is due to ease coronavirus restrictions and allow up to 5,000 spectators to attend sporting events from July 11, with the possibility of that number being raised depending on the success of reopening.

Marseille's Stade Velodrome, the venue for each final, can seat over 67,000 fans.

Exeter Chiefs, Northampton Saints, Clermont Auvergne, Racing 92, Leinster, Saracens, Toulouse and Ulster are in the Champions Cup quarter-finals.

The remaining Challenge Cup sides are Bordeaux-Begles, Edinburgh, Toulon, Scarlets, Leicester Tigers, Castres, Bristol Bears and Dragons.

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John Skilbeck