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The EPCR have confirmed that this year's Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals will not be played in Marseille as originally planned.

For the second year running, the ongoing uncertainty around the Covid-19 pandemic has led to the decider at Stade Vélodrome being switched.

However, the EPCR have committed to bringing the final to the French city in 2022, with the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium's hosting of the decider also pushed back to 2023.

In a statement this afternoon, tournament organisers say they have made the decision to ensure they can limit cross-border travel in the event of teams outside France reaching the final.

"Following EPCR’s General Assembly today (Wednesday 31 March), the Board of the organiser of the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup has decided that the 2021 tournament finals will not now be staged in Marseille.

"After consultation with the relevant local authorities in France and given the evolving public health situation, the Board concluded that in order to reduce cross-border travel where possible and to minimise COVID-19 transmission, flexibility was required regarding the choice of venues for the finals on 21 and 22 May.

"EPCR is working with its shareholder leagues and unions to put in place alternative arrangements for the staging of the two matches with all contingencies underpinned by the primary concern of protecting the health and welfare of players, club staff, match officials, fans, and the wider rugby community.

"The 2022 finals will now be played in Marseille on 27 and 28 May 2022, with European club rugby’s blue riband weekend scheduled for London’s Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in 2023. Tickets already purchased for the Marseille finals will be valid for 2022 and a process is in place for fans seeking refunds which will be communicated directly to ticket holders as well as on HeinekenChampionsCup.com," their statement reads.

Organisers made similar arrangements for the 2020 finals, with the Heineken Champions Cup decider between Exeter and Racing 92 played at Ashton Gate in Bristol, and the Challenge Cup showpiece between the Bears and Toulon staged in Aix-en-Provence.

Meanwhile, it has also been confirmed that the semi finals of this season's competition will be played at the venue of the designated home team, rather than just their home country.

The semi final draw will be made on Sunday April 11 following the conclusion of the quarter final matches.

Should Leinster and Munster win their respective last 16 games this weekend against Toulon and Toulouse respectively, they will be away from home in the quarter finals.

Leinster's reward for beating Toulon would be a trip to either Exeter Chiefs or Lyon, while either Wasps or Clermont would be in line to take on Munster, should they win this weekend.

Listen to LIVE commentary of Munster v Toulouse this Saturday on Off the Ball, with Neil Treacy joined by Keith Wood at Thomond Park at 3pm.

We'll also have full match commentary of Leinster v Toulon this Friday evening, LIVE from 5.20pm in the company of Neil and Johne Murphy.

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