Champions Cup and Challenge Cup 2021 finals moved out of Marseille

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(Reuters) - This year's Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals will not be staged in Marseille due to the evolving public health situation in France, the tournament organisers' board said on Wednesday.

European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) said the decision was taken after consultation with the relevant local authorities in France to reduce cross-border travel where possible and to minimise the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

It added that flexibility was required regarding the choice of venues for the finals on May 21 and 22.

"The 2022 finals will now be played in Marseille on May 27 and 28, 2022, with European club rugby's blue riband weekend scheduled for London's Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2023," EPCR said in a statement.

"Tickets already purchased for the Marseille finals will be valid for 2022 and a process is in place for fans seeking refunds which will be communicated directly to ticket holders and on HeinekenChampionsCup.com."

The Champions Cup and Challenge Cup will resume with the round of 16 matches in April after the final two rounds of pool matches in January were cancelled, the tournament organisers said last month.

EPCR added that the Champions Cup semi-final matches will be played at the venues of the home clubs this season.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)