As we await word on the possible lifting of some restrictions and the potential return of a limited degree of organised sporting activity, France has revealed that there will be no team sport possible until September at the earliest.
This has a potential impact on Professional rugby with the Top 14 season now being decided at a meeting taking place in France today.
Bordeaux top the table eight points clear of Lyon with Racing 92 in third place. There are six games left to play, and a remaining €15 million instalment for TV rights still outstanding from Canal+.
European Professional Club Rugby, organisers of the Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup are now faced with the dilemma of having four quarter-final ties across the two tournaments scheduled to be played in France, including Toulouse against Ulster Rugby.
In a statement issued yesterday, they said that “Having noted the directive regarding the staging of sporting events in France, EPCR remains committed to making every effort to conclude the knockout stages of the 2019/20 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup season, subject to official advice and with the health and welfare of players, club staff, match officials, supporters and the wider rugby community in mind.”
“EPCR will now consider this latest development with its league and union shareholders before deciding if further comment is required.”
The French Football season has now been formally brought to an end and the French Football Federation has called for League officials to determine final positions with regard to sporting equity and financial viability.
Paris St Germain is twelve points clear of the top flight. Both they and Lyon remain in the UEFA Champions’ League but no games will be able to take place in France should that be in some way played to a conclusion.
The French statement highlighted that “The 2019-2020 season of professional sports, including football, will not be able to resume.”
Adding to what may or may not be allowed after the current lockdown deadline in France of May 11th, it was said that “It will be possible, on sunny days, to practice an individual sporting activity outdoors, obviously respecting the rules of social distancing.”
“It will not be possible though, neither to practice sport in covered places nor to do so in team or contact sports.”
It is thought that the maximum public gatherings will be limited to ten, effectively ruling out even training.
The Tour de France replacement date of the end of August would also not be possible under these guidelines.
We await the news on what might be possible now in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

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