EPCR today announced some modifications to the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup formats for 2021/22, with key dates for next season now also confirmed.
By virtue of finishing the Gallagher Premiership campaign in fifth place on the ladder, Northampton Saints have qualified for Europe’s elite competition for the third season running.
Eight representatives from each of the Gallagher Premiership, TOP 14 and Guinness PRO14 will compete in the 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup. All qualified clubs and their rankings will be officially confirmed once this season’s domestic competitions are concluded.
Played over nine weekends, the 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup will kick off next December, with the last of four pool stage rounds scheduled for the weekend of 21/22/23 January 2022.
The knockout stages will start on the weekend of 8/9/10 April 2022 with a Round of 16 which will be played over two legs on a home and away basis, followed by quarter-finals and semi-finals, with the Marseille finals then going ahead on the weekend of 27/28 May 2022.
“As we put the finishing touches to a brand-new shareholder agreement which promises to be positive for everyone involved in our tournaments, we are continuing to refine and develop the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, and next season will see a return to a full series of massively exciting and competitive matches across Europe,” said EPCR Chief Executive, Vincent Gaillard.
Discussions to finalise all details of the formats for next season, and future seasons, within the framework of the new shareholder agreement, are ongoing. These discussions include the future participation of South African clubs in EPCR’s tournaments.
Key dates: 2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup
Round 1 – 10/11/12 December
Round 2 – 17/18/19 December
Round 3 – 14/15/16 January 2022
Round 4 – 21/22/23 January 2022
Round of 16 (1st leg) – 8/9/10 April 2022
Round of 16 (2nd leg) – 15/16/17 April 2022
Quarter-finals – 6/7/8 May 2022
Semi-finals – 13/14/15 May 2022
Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday 28 May 2022 (Stade Vélodrome, Marseille)