Turkeys voting for Christmas in France
NEWS: Top 14 club presidents have voted unanimously to extend the international year-end Test window to five weeks.
Normally there are only three Tests in November.
However, the five they agreed to is still one less than the six wanted by the French rugby union federation (FFR).
The French international XV, already slated to play three Tests on successive weekends starting November 7, against Georgia, Australia and South Africa, will now have two extra dates: October 31 and November 28.
The first extra date would likely see France play Ireland in their final Six Nations match, while there are some doubts over participation of southern hemisphere teams because of protocols related to the coronavirus pandemic.
In light of that COVID-19 outbreak, the FFR wants the Test window extended to six matches, with France playing against England, Ireland and twice versus Scotland, along with two other teams yet to be decided.
The FFR has also refused to as yet validate the Top 14 calendar for 2020/21 amid a tug-of-war over time international players spend away from their clubs.
“There is a point of balance to be struck between favouring one without being overly disadvantageous to the other,” Paul Goze, President of the body that runs professional rugby in France (LNR), told AFP.
“This point of balance was found with, exceptionally, two more international matches in autumn 2020.
“For the health of international players, for the financial balances of the clubs and the FFR, this is the best possible compromise. We hope that this proposal will lead to a rapid agreement.”
Goze continued: “Solidarity must go in both ways.
“French rugby relies on a network of professional clubs whose economic and sporting health is essential.”