• Premiership takes break after European Cups suspended

    Premiership Rugby has confirmed that it will be taking a two-week break following the temporary suspensions of the European Champions and Challenge Cups.

    Following a directive from French authorities that the participation of Top 14 clubs in the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, EPCR announced on Monday that the 2020-21 tournaments are temporarily suspended.

    EPCR and the Ligue Nationale de Rugby took part in a meeting by audio conference last week with representatives of the French Ministries of the Interior, Health and Sport, as well as of the President’s office.

    Notable updates to EPCR’s Covid-19 protocols were presented to the French authorities, including the addition of PCR tests no earlier than three days before matches in the tournaments, conforming to French government guidelines and supplementing the existing, meticulous contact tracing measures put in place with a view to limiting the risk of transmission.

    Against the backdrop of the recent detection of a new strain of coronavirus, the French government has directed that French clubs postpone their participation in EPCR’s tournaments for the month of January, both for matches scheduled in France and for those due to be played in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

    On the basis of this directive, EPCR had no choice but to temporarily suspend the pool stage of the Champions Cup and the preliminary stage of the Challenge Cup.

    Shortly following this decision, Premiership Rugby announced that the English domestic competition would take a two-week mid-season break.

    ‘The welfare of everyone involved in Premiership Rugby is crucial to us and this break in the season gives us the chance to hand some much-needed rest to our hard-working players, management, staff and match officials,’ Premiership Rugby chief executive Darren Childs said.

    ‘The Gallagher Premiership Rugby season will return – as scheduled – on Friday, 29 January when Bristol Bears host Bath Rugby,’ Childs added.

    Photo: Dan Mullan/Getty Images