Champions Cup Brexit-proof eligibility for knockout stages
UK registered players will still be considered ‘European’ after Brexit
The governing body for European rugby (EPCR) has reassured the clubs which have qualified for the knockout stages of the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, that Britain leaving the European Union next month through Brexit will not change the rules of the competition for this season’s event.
Brexit is due to take place on Friday March 29th, the day before Leinster meet Ulster in Aviva Stadium, Dublin in the Heineken Cup quarterfinal. Any registered player, who is a citizen of the United Kingdom will continue to be considered as a European Player for the purposes of the tournaments throughout the 2018/19 season.
The EPCR has not said what might happen next season if Brexit goes through and UK players and clubs are no longer considered to be part of the European Union.
In addition, should Munster overcome Edinburgh in their Heineken Cup quarter-final match and Glasgow come through their game at Saracens the Irish province may be able to play their semi-final at the 25,600 capacity Thomond Park.
Following a recent meeting, the EPCR Board has decided to use discretion in selecting appropriate venues for Heineken Cup semi-finals and will consider the possibility of staging a semi-final at a home stadium of a qualified club.
This use of discretion in selecting the semi-final venues does not require any change to the governing rules and regulations of EPCR and, as in previous seasons, continues to recognise the highest-ranked clubs earning home country advantage in their respective matches.
Similarly the suitability of BT Murrayfield as a venue should Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors be scheduled to meet in semi-final 1 will be assessed, while the 32,000-capacity Paris La Défense Arena will be considered along with other stadiums in France should Racing 92 qualify for semi-final 2.
Heineken Cup quarter-finals
Saturday March 30th
Edinburgh v Munster, 14.45pm, Murrayfield Stadium
Saracens v Glasgow Warriors, 3.15pm, Allianz Park
Leinster v Ulster, 5.45pm, Aviva Stadium
Sunday, March 31st
Racing 92 v Toulouse, 3.15pm , La Defense Arena
Edinburgh/Munster v Saracens/Glasgow
Leinster/Ulster v Racing 92/Toulouse