French game in 'lock-down' till at least August
TOP 14 NEWS: There will be no professional Rugby Union played in France before at least the end of August.
The governing body on Wednesday ruled out the Top 14 Final being played in mid-July.
As the coronavirus pandemic sweeps the world, decimating sporting events, the Ligue nationale de rugby, the body that runs France’s two professional leagues (Top 14 and ProD2), said it had cancelled the Top 14 semifinals scheduled for June 19 and 20 in Nice.
The decision was taken after talks with the LNR’s medical committee on the protocol surrounding a return to play, which would demand an eight to 12-week reacclimatisation before players could safely resume action on the paddock.
The LNR will now look at their second scenario, which would involve Bordeaux-Begles playing Toulon and Lyon facing Racing 92 in semifinals at the end of August before a Final at the Stade de France, the latter falling just before the nominal start of the 2020-21 season.
“In any case, it’s the sports ministry that will say ‘Yes, you can’ or ‘No, you cannot’,” Bernard Dusfour, head of the LNR’s medical committee, told AFP.
“If we had trustworthy tests that allow us to say that a player isn’t contaminated, it would be a good thing.
“Until we have this certainty that players cannot contaminate each other, it will not happen.”
The LNR also announced that the summer transfer window had been extended until July 15 to better allow Top 14 and ProD2 teams to build their squads.