Heineken Champions Cup announces altered format and dates for next season

Heineken Champions Cup format

The Heineken Champions Cup will feature a two-legged round of 16 knockout stage in next season’s tournament.

The Champions Cup will again feature 24 teams next season, having previously featured 20 sides before the outbreak of the covid pandemic.

The format of the competition was substantially changed in response to pressures created by the pandemic last season, but tournament organisers have now announced that they will slightly alter the format again.

New format for next season’s Heineken Champions Cup.

Each club will play four pool games (the exact format of the pool stages is yet to be announced) with 16 teams progressing to the knockout stages of the tournament.

Those 16 teams will then play a two-legged knockout match on a home and away basis, while the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final will remain one-legged affairs.

Two-legged knockout games have never featured in the competition before, although last season’s quarter finals were originally due to be played over two legs. The format was eventually changed due to the French sides’ inability to complete their final two pool matches due to covid-related reasons.

Eight teams from the Guinness Pro14, Gallagher Premiership and Top 14 will play in next season’s tournament. The EPCR have not yet announced how many teams will play in next season’s Challenge Cup.

The four South African sides that will take place in next season’s United Rugby Championship will not take part in next season’s Champions Cup and Challenge Cup, although they will be eligible for the 2022/23 season.

The finals of both the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup will take place at the Stade Velodrome in Marseille on the weekend of the 27/28 May.

Dates for the rounds of next season’s European tournaments.

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
Challenge Cup final – Friday 27 May 2022; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille
Heineken Champions Cup final – Saturday 28 May 2022; Stade Vélodrome, Marseille

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