The chief executive of European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) says they are confident this season’s European Champions Cup and Challenge Cup tournaments will not have to be abandoned as they await a decision from the French government regarding whether their teams can complete their remaining pool stage fixtures.

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The French government are today expected to pull their teams from competing in rounds three and four of the two competitions due to concerns surrounding new strains of Covid-19.

Any postponement of those fixtures would put extra pressure on an already squeezed rugby calendar, but EPCR boss Vincent Gaillard says they are confident the competitions can be completed at a later date. The games are currently scheduled to be played on the weekends of January 15-17 and 22-24.

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“In short, we’re expecting a definitive directive from the French government which we have not received so far, as to whether or not the French clubs will be able to participate in rounds three and four of this season’s Champions Cup and Challenge Cup,” Gaillard told BBC radio.

“We are going to start working on different scenarios as soon as this decision comes in. What we do know today is we have four weekends currently scheduled over the months of April and May, but we have six weekends required to finished the season.

“So as soon as the decision comes in, we’ll get together with our stakeholders and notably the three leagues, the Pro14, Premiership Rugby and the LNR in France, to find the best way forward.”

When asked if there was any danger the competitions would need to be abandoned, Gaillard said a postponement is the much more likely scenario.

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“I think a possible suspension is what we are looking at, but we are very confident that at the very least, those weekends that we have currently scheduled in April and May will be used in one way or another.”

The full interview can be heard here, starting at the 2.26.00 mark.

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