Within the last few moments, the board of European Professional Club Rugby have announced the suspension of the Heineken Champion’s Cup and Challenge Cup and the postponement of the Finals Weekend scheduled for Marseille.
The news comes a day after UEFA did likewise around the Champions’ Cup Final that was supposed to take place on the same day.
In a statement issued from Switzerland the ECPR said:
“In making the decision, the Board is abiding by the official directives and recommendations of the relevant authorities in its territories to restrict the COVID-19 pandemic.
“In light of the earlier postponement of its quarter-final matches and with fixtures in Europe’s professional league competitions currently suspended due to the public health crisis, EPCR believes it necessary to provide as much clarity as possible to all stakeholders regarding the knockout stages of its tournaments.”
“To that end, EPCR is working with the leagues and unions to restructure a conclusion to its season as part of a wider rescheduling of the remainder of the season in Europe, with all contingencies underpinned by the requirement to protect the health and welfare of players, club staff, match officials, supporters and the wider rugby community.”
“EPCR remains committed to completing the 2019/20 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup season, and it is planned to reschedule the quarter-final and semi-final matches, as well as the Marseille finals, in line with fixtures in the professional league competitions, subject to advice from government and local authorities.”
“Tickets already purchased for the Marseille finals will be valid for the new dates when announced, and from that point, fans who are unable to attend on the new dates will be entitled to a refund.”
“EPCR would like to thank Olympique de Marseille, the staff at the Orange Vélodrome and all local and regional partners for their continuing collaboration, and an update regarding the knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup will be communicated as soon as practicable.”
The decision was inevitable but the commitment to completing the season is a good one, adding to the basket of major sporting events that will now be rescheduled.
Image credit: ECPR