The EPCR announced on Friday that the finals of the Challenge Cup and the Champions Cup, scheduled for May 21 and 22, will take place in London’s “Rugby Temple”. The reason ? A possible return of the public.
London rather than Marseille. Due to the health crisis, the EPCR, the body which organizes the European Rugby Cups, had recently announced that the finals of the two continental competitions would not take place, as initially planned, at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille. . The question then was where they would take place. The verdict fell on Friday: the finals of the Challenge Cup and the Champions Cup will be held on Friday 21 and Saturday 22 May at Twickenham, the London enclosure which belongs to the English Federation (RFU).
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The good news for rugby supporters 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 supporters will be allowed to travel to the United Kingdom. For now, ten days of isolation must be observed before entering England. There will inevitably be at least one French club in the Champions Cup final, since Toulouse and Bordeaux-Bègles face each other this Saturday (4 p.m.) at Ernest-Wallon in the semi-final.
Spectators will be required to sign a code of conduct
The European body “advises supporters to follow government guidelines (locally and on their territory, if they are not based in the UK) before organizing their trip.” He added: “All spectators attending the finals will be required to read and sign a code of conduct. Wearing a mask will be compulsory within the stadium, except when spectators consume food or drink while seated in their assigned seat. Social distancing must be respected at all times. ” In addition, “additional measures are planned, in particular more frequent cleaning, a greater number of toilets, differentiated entrances at 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 happy 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. This is an important opportunity for us to organize events as part of the plan for the return of supporters to the stadiums. We are working with the EPCR and local authorities to put in place various measures to ensure the safety of everyone who will attend each meeting. ”
The formula remains at 24 clubs for 2021-2022
Tickets for these two finals go on sale this Friday from 6 p.m., from 50 euros. This decision to play the finals in London appears, according to some, as a little premature, insofar as the final of the Champions Cup could be 100% French, if La Rochelle brings down Leicester on Sunday in the semi-final. On the other hand, the Challenge Cup final could be a showdown between English clubs in the event of home success for Leicester and Bath, respectively against Ulster and Montpellier.
The EPCR has finally raised a last question: the format of the Champions Cup for next season will remain well with 24 clubs (eight representatives of the Top 14, the Premiership and the Pro 14). The first eight teams in 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 formula for the competition is still under study and will be clarified soon, says the EPCR. And the 2023 finals will be held again in England, again in London, at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.