EPCR cancels Heineken Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup postponed Round 2 fixtures

EPCR cancels Heineken Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup postponed Round 2 fixtures

Seven second-round Champions Cup and Challenge Cup matches involving French clubs were initially postponed due to travel restrictions imposed by their government; Those matches have now been cancelled and awarded as 0-0 draws

Last Updated: 11/01/22 6:41pm

The postponed matches from Round 2 of the Heineken Champions Cup have been cancelled

The matches postponed from Round 2 of the Heineken Champions Cup and European Challenge Cup have been cancelled, EPCR has confirmed.

Seven second-round matches across both competitions involving French clubs last month were initially postponed due to Covid-19-related travel restrictions imposed by the French government.

It had been hoped a new date for these games would be found, but although the option of modifying the format of competitions was considered, it has now been decided the only way forward was to cancel those games and award 0-0 draws for the affected fixtures.

“Following a series of meetings of the board of EPCR, it has been regrettably decided to cancel the postponed fixtures in Round 2 of this season’s Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup,” a statement read.

“The Board also authorised the EPCR Executive to determine the outcome of the fixtures as provided for in the rules of the tournaments and the EPCR Executive has decided that the appropriate solution is to record the results in each of the five Heineken Champions Cup and the two EPCR Challenge Cup fixtures in question as 0-0 draws with two match points awarded to each club.

“The Round 2 matches were initially postponed following the unforeseen introduction of new travel measures between the UK and France which resulted in EPCR being unable to obtain assurances that existing cross-border travel exemptions for players, club staff and match officials would remain in place.

“The options of modifying the tournament formats and/or rescheduling the matches were deliberated in great detail by all parties, however, in an increasingly complex fixture calendar due to Covid-19, it was regrettably decided that the only choice in the circumstances was to cancel the matches.”

The Heineken Champions Cup pool-stage games between Bath and La Rochelle, Sale Sharks and Clermont Auvergne, Scarlets and Bordeaux-Begles, Toulouse and Wasps, and Stade Francais and Bristol Bears have now all been recorded as 0-0 draws.

In the Challenge Cup, the matches between Worcester Warriors and Biarritz, and London Irish and Brive have been recorded as 0-0 draws too.

Round 2 had also seen matches being called off due to positive Covid-19 tests at clubs prior to the travel restrictions being put in place, including Leinster’s trip to Montpellier and Ospreys’ clash with Racing 92, which were recorded as 28-0 defeats for the Irish and Welsh side respectively.

However, EPCR drew a distinction between those and other matches cancelled for similar reasons, and the seven matches which have since been cancelled after initially being postponed, adding decisions where results have already been determined would stand.

Heineken Champions Cup games to go ahead

Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup pool-stage matches in rounds three and four will go ahead.

“On the basis that none of the clubs involved were in a position to play once the EPCR Board had postponed the seven matches due to the new restrictive travel measures, the only option open to the EPCR Executive under the provisions of the Match Result Resolution Matrix was to record the results as 0-0 draws and to award two match points to each club,” an EPCR statement read.

“A distinction should be drawn between the decisions in respect of the seven Round 2 matches in question and other tournament fixtures which were previously cancelled due to Covid-19 outbreaks or forced isolations affecting player availability.

“Those previously cancelled fixtures could not have been played as scheduled under any circumstances, whereas the clubs involved in the Round 2 matches in question were all cleared and available to contest the matches.

“Therefore, the determined outcomes of the three previously cancelled or forfeited Heineken Champions Cup fixtures, and the one EPCR Challenge Cup fixture, will stand.”

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