Heineken Champions Cup to keep 24-team format for the 2021/22 season

The Heineken Champions Cup will keep the same format for the 2021/22 season.

Organisers European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) changed the system last season to offset the impact of Covid-19, adding four more teams to the traditional 20-club competition.

The 24 clubs will be split evenly between the Gallagher Premiership, the Guinness PRO14 and France’s Top 14.

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The clubs will be drawn into two pools of 12 and the tournament will be played over nine weekends.

Four rounds of matches will be played over December and January and the eight highest-ranked clubs from each pool will qualify for the knockout stage.

This will consist of a round of 16 on a home and away basis, quarter-finals, semi-finals and the final in Marseille on May 28, 2022.

“As previously announced, EPCR is currently putting the finishing touches to a new shareholder agreement, and discussions to finalise the Challenge Cup format for the 2021/22 season, as well as the formats for the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup for future seasons, are ongoing,” an EPCR statement read.

“These discussions include the future participation of South African clubs in EPCR’s tournaments as referenced recently by the United Rugby Championship and no further comment will be made until the appropriate time.”

2021/22 Heineken Champions Cup qualifiers.

Gallagher Premiership: Harlequins, Exeter, Bristol, Sale, Northampton, Leicester, Bath, Wasps.

Guinness PRO14: Leinster, Munster, Ulster, Connacht, Scarlets, Ospreys, Cardiff, Glasgow.

Top 14: Toulouse, La Rochelle, Racing 92, Bordeaux-Begles, Clermont Auvergne, Stade Francais, Castres, Montpellier.

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