Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors await decision as this season’s Heineken Champions Cup is plunged into doubt

Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors are awaiting a decision on their participation in the Heineken Champions Cup after the viability of this season’s European competitions was plunged into doubt at a meeting between tournament organisers and the French government.

Edinburgh's match in France against La Rochelle on January 23 is in doubt. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS
Edinburgh's match in France against La Rochelle on January 23 is in doubt. Picture: Paul Devlin/SNS

Concerns over the new more transmittable strain of coronavirus prevalent in the UK prompted France’s Ministries of Interior, Health and Sport to hold talks with European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) and LNR, the representative body for the Top 14.

If France’s clubs are told by Paris that they are unable to compete in the remaining two rounds of the Champions and Challenge Cups, the competitions could be suspended.

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Glasgow are due to travel to France next Saturday to play Lyon, while Edinburgh are scheduled to face La Rochelle away on January 23.

Glasgow players had to isolate following their Champions Cup match with Exeter.

The two Scottish clubs are now waiting to see the outcome of the meetings with the French government. Eight of next weekend’s 12 scheduled Champions Cup third-round ties involve clubs from France.

“EPCR and the LNR participated in a meeting on Thursday afternoon with members of the French government,” an EPCR statement read.

“The objective was to present the revised Covid-19 protocols for rounds three and four of the 2020/2021 Heineken Champions Cup and European Rugby Challenge Cup.

“Notable updates to the protocols include the addition of matchday minus three testing, conforming to the new directives of the French government.

“These changes supplement the existing, meticulous contact tracing with all measures put in place with a view to limiting the risk of transmission and allowing the tournaments to continue in the context of the strong evolution of a new variant of coronavirus.

“EPCR expects to receive a decision from the authorities by the end of Saturday.”

It was reported earlier this week that the French clubs were unhappy with the testing protocols in place at Pro14 and English Premiership clubs.

Glasgow have already had to forfeit their home match against Lyon in the Champions Cup due to a Covid-related situation. Twenty Glasgow players had to isolate after a Covid-19 outbreak at Exeter Chiefs, who had played the Warriors the week before.

It meant Glasgow were unable to raise a team to play Lyon who were awarded a 28-0 victory.

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