Rugby

The Champions Cup Could Be Set To Revert To 24 Teams Next Season

The Champions Cup Could Be Set To Revert To 24 Teams Next Season

Sport all over the world has had to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic, with the virus impinging on ongoing seasons and future plans.

Accordingly, the EPCR have announced that they are mulling over a number of formats that could see a major change to Europe's premier club rugby competition, the Champions Cup.

These plans include the possibility of a 24-team tournament for the 2020/21 season, with "eight representatives from each of Europe’s leading league competitions, played over eight weekends." However, the governing body have also stated that these changes will only take place "under exceptional circumstances".

Over the course of the tournament's history, the Champions Cup has seen a multitude of formats and competing teams.

In the days of the Heineken Cup, a 24 team tournament was utilised from the 2000/01 season until the beginning of the Champions Cup era in 2014/15. This was when the tournament reverted to its current format of 20 teams. In the early days of continental club rugby competition, the tournament also saw 12 and 16 team formats. However, these numbers were due to English clubs refusal to participate in the tournament.

In their statement, the EPCR also went on to signal their intent to finish the current Champions Cup and Challenge Cup seasons, which are currently postponed at the quarter final stage.

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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.

The finals of both tournaments are set for Marseille's Stade Velodrome, with both Leinster and Ulster still in with a chance of winning the Champions Cup.

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Sean Meehan

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