Champions Cup, Challenge Cup finals to be held in October

Saracens' stars Maro Itoje and Owen Farrell will enter the Six Nations without any gametime at club level. GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

The Champions Cup and Challenge Cup knockout stages, which were postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic, will take place in September with the respective finals on Oct. 16 and 17, European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) announced on Thursday.

The quarterfinals of both competitions will be played on the weekend of Sept. 18-20 with the last-four matches scheduled for the weekend of Sept. 25-27, EPCR added, after the dates were agreed at Wednesday's board meeting.

"EPCR remains committed to staging the matches in Marseille, however, the situation is under review in light of public gathering and international travel restrictions which might be in place at the time of the finals," EPCR said in a statement.

The finals of both competitions were originally scheduled to take place in May.

The announcement adds a layer of confusion to discussions about a newly-aligned international season, with the European clubs competition and clubs in England and France opposed to plans for a two-month window in October and November.

The EPCR said new Champions Cup and Challenge Cup formats for the 2020-21 season were being considered as a consequence of widespread fixture disruption due to the pandemic.

"A 24-club Heineken Champions Cup with eight representatives from each of Europe's leading league competitions is one of the options under discussion," the statement added.

The EPCR said any changes would apply to next season's tournaments, which are scheduled to start on the weekend of Dec. 11-13.