French Rugby League cancels entire club season

The French Rugby League Federation have confirmed they will scrap the 2019-20 season, with no club being awarded the title.

The French Elite 1 and Elite 2 Championships were suspended on March 13 due to the coronavirus outbreak – and clubs in both competitions took part in surveys discussing how the season would finish.

More than half of the clubs voted in favour of cancelling the season with immediate effect, with no club being named champions.

The news comes just days after France president Emmanuel Macron extended the country’s lockdown until May 11.

It is also highly likely that sports matches will not be held in France until mid-July at the earliest.

A statement by the FFR XIII read: “First, this decision must be made with a focus on the medical aspect. The two doctors who are part of the management committee of the Federation, Xavier Fabre and Christian Valéro, have a clear position. It is ‘preferable to end the sport’s season for the sake of player protection and citizenship’.

“Knowing the risks of our sport, it is ‘everyone’s responsibility not to overload the already badly damaged care system’.

“Furthermore, the de-confinement will be done gradually and we can imagine that the final phases would be done behind closed doors. This hypothesis represents no financial interest and would worsen an already particularly difficult economic situation for our clubs.

“For all of these reasons, and especially with a view to preserving the health of all, the executive board has decided to end the 2019-2020 season.”

The FRF XIII revealed they considered playing games behind closed doors but that there would be no financial interest for clubs.

The statement continued: “Concerning the economic consequences following the COVID-19 epidemic, the Federation has decided to reimburse part of the costs in proportion to your commitments at the start of the season.

“Considering that the sport’s season is spread over 10 months, the Federation informs that three months of engagement will be retroceded or 30% of the initial engagement.”

FRF XIII secured local television coverage for this season but given the circumstances, it won’t cover the Lord Derby Cup, Elite 1, Elite 2, Women’s, Under-19s and Wheelchair finals over four weekends in May and June.

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About Drew Darbyshire 8174 Articles
Love Rugby League Deputy Editor. Joined the site ahead of the 2017 World Cup and been a full-time reporter since 2018.

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