Through a letter addressed to the LNR, the Ministry of Sports asked French clubs not to take part in the European Cup matches scheduled for the next two weekends.
The suspension of the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup is only a matter of time. As England is hit hard by a rebound in the coronavirus pandemic caused by a more contagious variant, the government has officially contacted the National Rugby League to urge clubs to forgo matches in European competitions planned for the next two weekends.
“I confirm that the French government is asking French professional clubs to postpone their participation in European Cup matches, at least until the beginning of February 2021, both for matches organized in France and those taking place on the ground British and Irish ‘, announces the Ministry of Sports in a letter sent to the director general of the LNR, Emmanuel Eschalier, and revealed by RMC Sport.
The ball is in the court of the EPCR
To justify its position, the government wishes “As a priority to fight against all the risks of introducing the VOC 202012/01 variant (the English variant of the coronavirus) and its circulation on national territory”. In addition, the authorities are asking the NRL “In conjunction with the European organizer of these competitions” and his “British and Irish counterparts to find the best solutions so that the competition can take place with a calendar adapted to current health constraints”.
In other words, the EPCR will have to very quickly decide on the fate of the two days of the Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup scheduled for the next two weekends, with the formalization of a suspension which should very quickly take place. If necessary, the NRL could activate its “plan B” which would see four late games rescheduled next weekend then the 19th day, initially scheduled for the weekend of March 20, brought forward to that of January 23. Another hot topic will be that of the 6 Nations Tournament, which must be the subject of a meeting this Tuesday, despite the confidence displayed by Bernard Laporte.