Clermont angry at 'completely absurd' rearrangement of Champions Cup fixture

A war of words has erupted between Clermont and Champions Cup organisers over the handling of their aborted European clash with Saracens.

The heavyweight Pool Two showdown, a repeat of last season's final, was originally scheduled for yesterday at 3.15pm but adverse weather conditions around Allianz Park resulted in its postponement.

European Professional Club Rugby announced late that evening that due to "health and safety concerns" the game would be played on Monday with a 5.30pm kick-off behind closed doors.

A further change was made the following morning when Saracens said that supporters are able to attend at Allianz Park following an assessment of the stadium facilities overnight.

Clermont, however, insist they were not consulted throughout a process they describe as "completely absurd" and are angry at multiple time changes to the kick-off time for the rearranged fixture.

"The club is very annoyed by this completely absurd situation with multiple twists and turns," a statement released by the beaten 2017 finalists read.

"In the end, for a few inches of snow, the organisation of this meeting ran into ridicule and absurdity.

"Whatever happens on the pitch at Allianz Park this afternoon, this will remain an episode more of amateurism which can sometimes be seen in our sport.

"We were informed around 11pm that the meeting scheduled for 14 hours was again moved to 5.30pm without the opportunity to warn the players most of whom had returned to their room.

Clermont playing Saracens in April 2015.

"We were not consulted throughout the day while discussions were going on between the EPCR and Saracens.

"The club have never been invited to the negotiating table and must now adapt to the incompetence of the public authorities and Saracens to organise this major sporting event."

EPCR chief executive Vincent Gaillard insists that while there were issues communicating the decision, Clermont's response is unreasonable

"Clermont's reaction is totally unjustified and unfair. They grossly underestimated the severity of the weather events that caused major disruption," Gaillard told Press Association Sport.

"We made the decision that the match had to be played on Monday from the moment we could guarantee safety because there is no other place in the calender to play the match.

"The kick-off time had to be changed because authorities could not guarantee the safety of players through the provision of ambulance at 2pm.

"The final decision was the correct one, but we would have liked more communication with Saracens in terms of how the announcement was made and we regret that."


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