Marseille will not host the 2020 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals. Instead, it has been now decided that the same venue will host the finals of the 2021 events.
However, the EPCR (European Professional Club Rugby) announced last month that they still plan to organise the finals of this year's events in mid-October. As of now, the venues for those matches haven't been decided.
Now that Marseille has decided to stage the 2021 finals, London's Tottenham Hotspur Stadium is shortlisted as a potential host for the 2022 tournaments.
EPCR recently released a statement that reads, "Due to the many uncertainties created by the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been decided that the 2020 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals will not now be held in Marseille as planned and the matches will be played at a new venue or venues. With tens of thousands of fans scheduled to travel to the south of France, the board of EPCR and the local organising committee have agreed that insufficient safeguards are currently in place during the public health crisis."
According to the latest developments, the finals of the 2021 Champions Cup and Challenge Cup will be played over the weekend of May 21-22 at the Stade Vélodrome. The last-eight stages of both these tournaments will be played this year between September 18-20, while the semi-finals are slotted for September 25-27.
Amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, it is necessary for the matches to strictly adhere to the government guidelines. Europe has been particularly affected by the pandemic. France has recorded over 169,000 COVID-19 positive cases as their death toll stands at nearly 30,000. Fresh cases are recorded every day, as the disease doesn't seem to be slowing down.
In such a situation, the French government and the country's rugby organisation believe that organising an international event might put the health of players, coaches, and other tournament staff members in danger.
The statement also revealed that the tickets for this season's finals will be considered valid for the 2021 finals. No changes will be made to seating arrangements or ticket categories. All the ticket holders will be contacted through email this weekend. The email will also guide the ticket owners with the details of the full refund process.