Euro­pean fi­nals will not be played in Mar­seille

Western Daily Press - - Rugby, Football - PRESS AS­SO­CI­A­TION RE­PORTER

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.”

David Davies/PA

Sara­cens won the Cham­pi­ons Cup in 2019

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