European chiefs considering return to 24-club Champions Cup

European chiefs considering return to 24-club Champions Cup

European Rugby chiefs are considering a 24-club Heineken Champions Cup next season.

The move is part of the contingency planning officials are undertaking due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The new format, if passed, would include representatives from each of Europe’s leading league competitions next season and would be played over eight weekends.

However, tournament officials remain "committed" to concluding this season's competition if possible and have targeted a weekend in mid-October to play the final - along with the Challenge Cup decider.

In a statement issued this evening, European Professional Club Rugby officials said that: "As part of its future planning, and with the extraordinary circumstances due to the COVID-19 pandemic at the forefront, EPCR can confirm that a number of tournament formats are being considered for the 2020/21 season.

"Ongoing discussions with EPCR’s league and union shareholders regarding new formats have included the possibility of a 24-club Heineken Champions Cup with eight representatives from each of Europe’s leading league competitions, played over eight weekends. If adopted, any new format would apply to next season’s tournament only on an exceptional basis.

"In the meantime, EPCR remains committed to making every effort to conclude the knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup season subject to official advice and with the health and welfare of players, club staff, match officials, supporters and the wider rugby community in mind.

"It is hoped that the 2020 finals could be staged on 16 and 17 October."

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