England’s Premiership Rugby is considering midweek matches and staging multiple games behind closed doors to complete the season. Reuters
The European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) on Tuesday postponed the semi-final and final of this season’s Champions Cup and Challenge Cup tournaments.
Quarter-final fixtures of both tournaments from April 3-5 were already postponed last week. Quarter-final fixtures of both tournaments scheduled for April 3-5 had already been postponed last week due to the coronavirus outbreak.
The organisers have now added the finales of the competitions, which had both been due to take place in Marseille in May.
The Champions Cup final had been scheduled to take place on May 23 at the Stade Velodrome, while the Challenge Cup title decider was due to be played at the same venue the day before.
“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,” the EPCR said in a statement.
“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.”
The EPCR said it was committed to finding a solution that would allow the European campaign to be completed.
Meanwhile, England’s Premiership Rugby is considering midweek matches and staging multiple games behind closed doors at a single venue to complete the 2019-20 season, league chief executive Darren Childs has said.
The Rugby Football Union cancelled the remainder of English rugby domestic season last week, excluding the English Premiership, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
England’s top-flight competition is suspended until at least April 24, with nine rounds and the playoffs still to be played.
“Our number one priority is to find a way to play, and that is what we are all working on behind the scenes,” Childs told British media.
“We want to get this season finished, and if that means playing over the summer, then we will do that, as long as it is safe to do so. We won’t take any risks about anyone’s health and welfare.
“We are all working to try and hopefully be the first sport back on television, whether that is in a closed stadium or an open stadium. There is no reason why we couldn’t play four games over a weekend in a single stadium.”
Several of the Premiership’s 12 clubs have told their players and staff to take a per cent pay cut due to the postponement of rugby during the coronavirus outbreak, with the Harlequins becoming the latest to announce such a measure on Monday.
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