This article was posted on Facebook by Martin Hughes (EPA Vice President), regarding the proposed changes to the Eurocup format for 2017.
*EuroCup 2017 Update*
As you may have seen elsewhere, the new format for the competition issued recently by the CEP has led to us revisiting our approach. In looking at options we wanted to ensure that the impact on the previously issued national calendar was as limited as possible as many of our regions had populated their own calendars on the basis of the national calendar.
As a result, discussions with our EuroCup organiser Alan Roden has led to us deciding to proceed as follows:
1 – There will be a ‘home’ and ‘away’ draw;
2 – Notices to go out by middle of May with draw to be made at June MC meeting;
3 – First Round to be completed by 20th August;
4 – Second round to be completed by 1st October;
5 – third round to be completed by 26th November (with only one match to be played (i.e. three rounds);
6 – fourth round to be played over the weekend of 24th/25th March 2018 at two venues to be decided;
7 – finals to be played on 22nd April, 2018.
This approach offers flexibility to our clubs and regions to work around calendars and there is now no set date in the calendar for playing the matches, just lengthy ‘windows’ where the clubs concerned can make the arrangements. You will appreciate that the combined round 2 and 3 has now been dropped. This was introduced as under the old format (2 x triples and 3 x doubles) it was felt that travelling could be minimised through combination. Under the new format with the introduction of the Singles round, there are now three rounds per match (6 x singles, 2 x triples and 3 x doubles), so it is felt that the doubling up could lead to very lengthy days.
The removal of the November (4th) round originally in our calendar for 19th and 26th November means that we can relocate that to the following March after the clocks change. It also means that there is more time available to transact the preliminary rounds (rounds 1 – 3 can be played between late June and late November). We hope that this will mean better conditions for the most important stages of the competition. This also applies to the Finals, where the light and hopefully the weather will be even better than the fourth round (although there are no guarantees).
The result is that there are now no fixed dates in our national calendar 2017 for EuroCup except the deadlines by which rounds need to be played. This should mean that any potential clashes with competitions already set/proposed by our regions is not a factor.