Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup cleared to resume after travel exemptions agreed

Pat Lam’s Bristol Bears side are yet to begin their Champions Cup campaign because of a Covid-19 outbreak and French travel rules

This season’s Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup will continue as normal after a clarification from the French government on exemptions from travel restrictions.

Under current rules, travellers from the UK must self-isolate for 48 hours after entering France.

But tournament organisers have been told that exemptions apply to players, coaching staff and officials.

The pool stages are set to resume as planned on 14 January.

Six games between French and British clubs in the Champions Cup, and two in the Challenge Cup, are scheduled to take place next weekend, starting with Newcastle’s trip to Biarritz on Friday.

However, organisers European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) must also find room to reschedule seven matches from round two of the tournaments that were called off on account of the French travel restrictions.

Bristol Bears are yet to begin their European campaign after their round-two trip to Stade Francais was postponed, although the Bears were awarded a bonus-point win after Scarlets conceded their opener with the majority of the squad in Covid-19 isolation.

“While recognising that these are particularly challenging times for all its stakeholders, EPCR will continue to work with the leagues and unions so that this month’s matches can be played safely,” a statement read.

“EPCR is optimistic that this season’s tournaments will be played to a successful conclusion.

“In addition, discussions are ongoing regarding the five Champions Cup and two Challenge Cup round two fixtures which were postponed due to unforeseen circumstances arising from changes to border controls between France and the UK.”

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