French clubs 'in danger', could lose millions
NEWS: French rugby clubs, a longtime financial magnet for a host of international stars, “are in danger” and face losses of up 35 million euros due to strict limits on crowd sizes, the national league boss warned Wednesday.
Due to the ongoing coronavirus crisis, French government officials have set a maximum of 5 000 fans for each game in the top two divisions.
This restriction will last at least until October 30.
The 2020/2021 season for the 30 professional clubs starts on the first weekend in September.
“Until October 30, the stadiums will be limited to 5 000 spectators, except by dispensation from the local prefects,” Paul Goze, president of the National Rugby League, told AFP.
“We hope to be able to obtain, in areas a little less affected, dispensations which will allow us to have a larger number.
“The limit brings financial difficulties. If we do not want to have clubs closing because of financial problems, the government must take action.”
According to calculations by the league (LNR), French professional clubs could lose between 30 and 35 million euros during the first two months of the season.
The LNR argues that if the government insists on capping spectator numbers, then they should be prepared to offer clubs in the Top 14 and second-tier Pro2 a financial cushion.
“Without help, clubs and the professional championship could disappear,” added Goze.
“I don’t think that the government is in that frame of mind three years before the World Cup takes place in France.
“We cannot imagine a World Cup taking place in a country where half of the professional clubs have disappeared after the pandemic.”
— TOP 14 Rugby (@top14rugby) August 25, 2020