Coronavirus: European rugby finals planned for October amid potential Champions Cup changes

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European rugby organisers are holding discussions over a revised structure for the 2020-21 season, while also outlining plans to complete the current campaign.

The Champions Cup and Challenge Cup schedules had to be halted due to the coronavirus pandemic, with no imminent return to action on the cards.

However, European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) is making "every effort" to make sure the knockout stages do eventually take place, subject to working within health guidelines and under consideration for the welfare of players.

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A statement from the governing body revealed the hope is for the 2020 finals to take place on October 16 and 17.

As for next season, a possible change to the Champions Cup could see the competition grow from 20 to 24 teams, meaning eight each from the Pro14, English Premiership and Top 14 competitions.

Fixtures would be held over eight weekends instead of nine, though a new format will only apply on an "exceptional basis", according to a statement from EPCR.

"Ongoing discussions with EPCR's league and union shareholders regarding new formats have included the possibility of a 24-club Heineken Champions Cup with eight representatives from each of Europe's leading league competitions, played over eight weekends", the statement read.

"If adopted, any new format would apply to next season's tournament only on an exceptional basis.

"In the meantime, 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."

This season's Top 14 season was abandoned after the French government ruled there would be no sporting events staged until the beginning of September.

The Stade Velodrome in Marseille was due to host both European club rugby finals in May.

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