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EPCR statement: Clarification issued amid Omicron travel chaos

By Ian Cameron
(Photo by Ryan Hiscott/INPHO via EPCR)

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European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) have issued a clarification for clubs regarding the upcoming opening round of the European competition in the wake of a number of URC clubs caught up in travel chaos surrounding the new Covid-19 variant.

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Members of both Scarlets, Cardiff and Munster currently remain in South Africa after testing positive for the virus, with new travel rules across the EU and the UK making their return home a logistical nightmare.

This morning the Scarlets asked the EPCR to postpone their upcoming European fixtures as they believe that they would be unable to field a team given the situation.

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The EPCR have now issued a clarification statement, saying they were relaxing regulations around player registrations, among other measures.

In a statement reads: “Ahead of the kick-off of the 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup season, EPCR would like to clarify its position with regard to the registration of players for the tournaments.

“Following consultation with the leagues and unions, it has been decided to extend the first registration date from last month to allow all participating clubs to supplement their squads with an unlimited number of previously unregistered players.

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“All new players will have to be registered on or before Wednesday, 8 December at midday (UK and Irish time).

“For the pool stage matches which start on the weekend of 10/11/12 December, the following Covid-19 mitigation protocols will be in place until further notice:

• All players, coaching staff and essential club personnel must return a negative Covid test result in match week. The test results can be utilised to facilitate cross-border travel to matches.

• Only essential club personnel will be permitted to avail of elite sportspersons quarantine exemptions for cross-border travel. Personnel from outside the high-performance environment will not be exempt.

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• Clubs will be required to abide by the regulations imposed by local authorities with regards to travel and accommodation restrictions.

• A Red Zone restriction for operational purposes will be in place at all match venues.

“With no alternative weekends available in the 2021/22 season calendar, EPCR is in regular dialogue with the leagues and clubs to ensure that all possible measures are considered so that the matches take place as scheduled.

“While looking forward to another series of compelling pool stage fixtures, EPCR is mindful of how recent events have impacted on Cardiff Rugby, Munster Rugby, Scarlets and Zebre Parma in particular, and the tournament organiser would like to extend its best wishes to the players and staff who currently remain in South Africa, as well as to the players and staff who have been repatriated and are currently isolating.”

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