Champions Cup matches 'to go ahead' after France travel block

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Antoine Dupont's Toulouse were unable to travel to England to face Wasps last month (AFP/Geoff Caddick)

The organisers of the European Champions Cup said on Friday games in this season's pool stages later this month will take place as normal after receiving an exemption on travel rules from the French government.

Last month, European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) were forced to postpone five fixtures between Top 14 and British sides due to Covid-19 restrictions.

Since December 18, individuals have needed a compelling reason to go between the countries, with the only dispensation being for French and European travellers returning to France and British passengers heading in the other direction.

"EPCR is pleased to clarify that pool stage matches in Rounds 3 and 4 of the Heineken Champions Cup and EPCR Challenge Cup are set to go ahead as scheduled," body said.

"Following dialogue with the leagues and unions, EPCR has been informed that exemptions for what is termed the "pursuit of an economic activity" which have been put in place by the French government will apply to clubs and match officials who are travelling between France and the UK.

"Further information will also be sought from the French authorities regarding possible new conditions which may be applicable to travel between France and the UK," it added.

The next round of matches start on January 14 with champions Toulouse's trip to English side Wasps among the standout ties.

Round four takes place the following weekend with Top 14 leaders Bordeaux-Begles heading to unbeaten Premiership club Leicester Tigers.

According to France's sports minister, a meeting between the country's interministerial crisis centre will be held on Monday, when they will discuss sporting events.

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