European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), which organises the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, has confirmed new dates for the knockout stages of the two competitions, with Marseille’s Stade Vélodrome scheduled to stage the finals as initially planned.

It is now planned that the quarter-finals of both tournaments will take place from September 18-20, with the semi-finals scheduled for September 25-27. The finals of the Challenge Cup and Champions Cup have been pencilled in for October 16 and October 17, respectively.

The dates are subject to government guidelines and the health and welfare of players, club staff, match officials, supporters and the wider rugby community will be “to the fore”, EPCR said. Exact fixture dates, venues, kick-off times and TV coverage will be announced in the near future.

Although EPCR said it remains committed to staging the matches at the Vélodrome (pictured), the body said the situation is “under review” while restrictions on public gatherings and travel remain in place.

EPCR and the local organising committee in Marseille will clarify the position regarding the finals, including details of ticket refunds, as soon as possible. The finals had been due to take place at the Vélodrome on May 1-3 and May 22-23 but EPCR suspended the remainder of the season in March following the COVID-19 outbreak.

The formats for the 2020-21 editions of the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup are also being considered, with a 24-club Champions Cup with eight representatives from each of Europe’s leading leagues one of the options under discussion. Any changes made for next season, which would begin on December 11, would only be on an exceptional basis.

Image: Max Pixel