European Professional Club Rugby has announced the new revamped format for the 2020/21 season following the impact of pandemic coronavirus.
The structure will be used only for the upcoming season with 24 teams in contention for the top competition of Europe. The teams will be divided into two groups of 12 teams each with top eight sides from each pool progressing to the knock-out stage.
The top eight teams in Premiership, Pro14 and Top14 in the 2019/20 season will progress to the competition.
“The decision to alter the formats for next season on an exceptional basis has been made against the backdrop of the Covid-19 public health crisis and its ongoing impact on the professional club game in Europe,” read the EPCR statement.
The final of the 2020/21 season will be held in Marseille on 22nd May next year.
EPCR chairman Simon Halliday said the format will provide opportunities to more teams after what has been a tough 2020 season that was disrupted by the outbreak of Covid-19.
“With an expanded knockout stage and no repeats of domestic matches during the pool stage, this format creates brand new competitive opportunities for Europe’s elite clubs and their fans,” said Halliday.