The EPCR announced on Friday that the Challenge Cup and Champions Cup finals, scheduled for May 21-22, will take place at the Rugby Temple in London. The reason ? A possible return of the public.
London instead of Marseille. Due to the health crisis, the EPCR, the body that organizes the European Rugby Cups, had recently announced that the finals of the two continental competitions would not be held, as originally planned, at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille. The question then was where they would take place. The verdict fell on Friday: the Challenge Cup and Champions Cup finals will be played on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 May at Twickenham, the London venue that belongs to the English Federation (RFU).
The good news for rugby fans is that the ‘Temple of Rugby’ will be able to accommodate 10,000 spectators for these two matches, ‘in accordance with the British government’s roadmap for recovery,’ said the EPCR. The whole question is whether French fans will be able to travel to the UK. For now, ten days of isolation must be observed before entering England. Inevitably there will be at least one French club in the Champions Cup final, as Toulouse and Bordeaux-Bègles meet this Saturday (4pm) at Ernest-Wallon in the semi-final.
Spectators must sign a code of conduct.
The European body “advises supporters to follow government guidelines (locally and within their territory, if they are not based in the UK) before organizing their trip.” He added: “All spectators attending the finals must read and sign a code of conduct. The use of a mask will be mandatory inside the stadium, except when spectators consume food or drinks while sitting in their assigned seat. Social distancing must be respected at all times ”. In addition, “additional measures are envisaged, in particular more frequent cleaning, a greater number of toilets, differentiated entrances in the stage and a revised transport plan”, indicates the EPCR.
“We look forward to seeing up to 10,000 fans returning to Twickenham Stadium for these EPCR Finals and we are very pleased to have been chosen to host these matches,” said Bill Sweeney, RFU General Manager and member of the EPCR Steering Committee in a press release. release. This is an important opportunity for us to host events as part of the fan’s return to stadiums plan. We are working with the EPCR and local authorities to implement various measures to ensure the safety of everyone who will attend each meeting. “
The formula remains in 24 clubs for 2021-2022
Tickets for these two finals go on sale this Friday from 6 pm, from 50 euros. This decision to play the final in London seems, according to some, a bit premature, insofar as the final of the Champions Cup could be 100% French, if La Rochelle defeat Leicester on Sunday in the semifinals. On the other hand, the Challenge Cup final could be a clash between English clubs in the event of a home win for Leicester and Bath, respectively, against Ulster and Montpellier.
The EPCR has finally raised one final question: the Champions Cup format for next season will hold up well with 24 clubs (eight representatives from the Top 14, the Premiership and the Pro 14). The top eight teams of the French championship will compete in the next “big” European Cup unless Montpellier, currently outside the top 8, wins the Challenge Cup and gets its ticket to the Champions Cup. The competition formula is still under study and it will soon become clear, says the EPCR. And the 2023 final will be played again in England, again in London, at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.
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