European finals will not be played in Marseille
THE 2020 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals will now be played at new venues after tournament organisers decided to move the games away from Marseille.
The French city will instead stage the 2021 finals, with the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London hosting them in 2022.
“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,” said a European Professional Club Rugby statement.
“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 to stage two high-profile matches at the 67,000-capacity Stade Velodrome.
“As a consequence, EPCR is working with its shareholder leagues and unions to secure an alternative venue or venues for the two finals which will be played on the weekend of October 16-18, and details will be announced as soon as practicable.
“Tickets for this season’s finals will be valid for the 2021 weekend with no change to category or seating, and all of the ticket holders will be contacted by email within the next 48 hours with details of how to avail of a full refund if required.”
EPCR announced in June they still plan to stage the 2020 finals in midOctober, despite the coronavirus pandemic. The quarter-finals of both tournaments will be played on the weekend of September 18-20, with the semi-finals on September 25-27.
Scotland international Sean Maitland has signed a new two-year deal with Saracens.
The 31-year-old was linked with a move away from the club after they were relegated to the Championship for repeated salary cap breaches.
However, the Sarries wing will be part of Mark McCall’s side in the second tier and is contracted with the north London side until 2022.
Maitland said: “It was a bit of a no-brainer for me. My family love it here, we’re settled and I wanted to stay because I love being here and I love what the club is about and the people that are in it.”
Saracens won the Champions Cup in 2019