European Rugby suspends tournament
This weekend's Chiefs match against Toulouse, due to be played at Sandy Park on Saturday afternoon, won't go ahead after European Rugby suspended the competition.
French authorities have ordered their league, the Top 14, call off forthcoming games in the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup because it is "too great a public health risk"
That's led European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) to suspend the two tournaments. The Chiefs, current Champions Cup holders, will have to wait before recommencing battle to retain their title. They were looking forward to getting back on the field this weekend after two successive losses in the Premiership.
EPCR and the Ligue Nationale de Rugby took part in a remote meeting last week with representatives of the French ministries of the Interior, Health and Sport, as well as of the French president’s office. They say: "Notable updates to EPCR’s covid-19 protocols were presented to the French authorities, including the addition of PCR tests no earlier than three days before matches in the tournaments, conforming to French government guidelines and supplementing the existing, meticulous contact tracing measures put in place with a view to limiting the risk of transmission.
"Against the backdrop of the recent detection of a new strain of coronavirus, the French government has directed that French clubs postpone their participation in EPCR’s tournaments for the month of January, both for matches scheduled in France and for those due to be played in the United Kingdom and Ireland.
"While respecting all further directives by governments and local authorities, and prioritising the health and welfare of players and club staff, EPCR, in conjunction with its shareholder leagues and unions, remains committed to trying to find a solution which will enable it to resume and complete the tournaments as soon as practicable.