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European chiefs slam World Rugby for leaving them out of key talks

European rugby’s governing body have revealed that they want to stage the Champions Cup final in October and have slammed World Rugby for leaving them out of discussions.

World Rugby have stated intentions to reschedule coronavirus-hit Tests for October, despite those weekends already being set aside for club rugby.

EPCR chairman Simon Halliday claims the clubs have been overlooked in discussions and has demanded talks about next season’s playing calendar.

European rugby chiefs want to stage this season's Champions Cup final in October

European rugby chiefs want to stage this season's Champions Cup final in October

European rugby chiefs want to stage this season’s Champions Cup final in October

‘We can’t just be excluded from the discussion and we won’t be excluded from the discussion,’ Halliday told Sportsmail.

‘We are reading that international rugby could be played through October/November, which is a key time for our 2020-21 competition and potentially a date for this season’s final.

‘To hear that there’s planning going on for international games on those dates does a lot of damage to us. We have commitment to partners and broadcasters. We have a responsibility to our business to be heard.

‘I just think that enough is enough. We need to align and bring our sport together during this terrible crisis and to do that we need a seat at the table. Bill Beaumont owes us a lot more than that.’ 

Postponed fixtures will increase pressure on the playing schedule for next season. There are not enough weekends to fit in all the matches and Halliday is looking at the option of a reduced-format competition for 2020-21.

EPCR chairman Simon Halliday slammed World Rugby for overlooking clubs in the discussions

EPCR chairman Simon Halliday slammed World Rugby for overlooking clubs in the discussions

EPCR chairman Simon Halliday slammed World Rugby for overlooking clubs in the discussions

‘We’re prepared to potentially borrow from next season,’ said Halliday.

‘We haven’t agreed on that yet but we could use the first two weekends of next season to finish this season. We’re not insensitive to the fact that the calendar’s extremely busy.

‘There are issues in France where teams like Toulouse and Montpellier are currently sitting just outside the qualifying positions, but they’re saying it’s a bit unfair because they started the season without their World Cup stars.

‘Do we let more teams in? Not by playing extra weekends, but having more pools with fewer teams. Or move towards a format with fewer teams that we were already discussing?

‘We will do whatever we can but we can’t do that when we aren’t part of the thinking. We’re all pushing into the dark but I think we should be a far bigger consideration than what we seem to have been.’

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