French Rugby Federation suspends all competitions


The French Rugby Federation has suspended all of its competitions to prevent the spread of coronavirus, the organisation’s president Bernard Laporte announced in a statement on Twitter on Friday.

The announcement comes a day after the 2019-20 Guinness PRO14 season was suspended indefinitely.

“It is our responsibility to take the necessary decisions in line with the announcements developed by the President of the Republic,” Laporte said.

The PRO14 had previously postponed the Round 14 and 15 matches involving Benetton and Zebre due to restrictions on travelling implemented by the Italian government, but have now suspended all league matches indefinitely.

Organisers said in a statement: “The PRO14 is an international league. Cross border travel is inevitable and that brings with it unique challenges. With governments in Italy and Ireland already putting in place clear directives and restrictions around public activities and travel, the decision to suspend the competition is appropriate.

“It is in the best interests of everyone that games are not played at this time. The suspension has been directed by the board of Celtic Rugby DAC and will be remain under constant review.

Tournament director David Jordan said: “We have made this decision with everyone’s welfare foremost in our minds. With an evolving situation in the five countries that take part in Guinness PRO14 it is important to make a clear decision that is in keeping with the advice of the various governments involved.

“Resumption of the 2019/20 season will now become a matter of constant review.”

Meanwhile, the Irish Rugby Football Union on Thursday suspended all domestic rugby activity until March 29 after the Irish government announced the closure of schools and restricted mass gatherings until the end of the month. The suspension applies to the country’s four provicial clubs, Ulster, Munster, Leinster and Connaught.

Two Six Nations games scheduled to take place this weekend have already been postponed, with Wales vs. Scotland due to go ahead as planned at the Principality Stadium on Saturday.

This weekend’s Premiership Rugby Cup final between Sale Sharks and Harlequins is due to go ahead as planned with some initiatives in place to combat the coronavirus.

“The welfare of our fans, players and staff is paramount. We are in close contact with the World Health Organisation, Public Health England and DCMS to help us build a contingency plan for the season ahead,” a Premiership Rugby spokesperson said.

“We will keep updating our plans with new information as it is released, and ensure our clubs are updated with any developments.”

The outbreak has lead to the cancellation of sporting events across the world.

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