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Dublin: 0°C Friday 16 April 2021

FFR clear France head coach Galthié of wrongdoing after Covid-19 outbreak

Les Bleus’ head coach left the French Six Nations bubble to watch his son play a game.

Image: James Crombie/INPHO

THE HEAD OF the French Rugby Federation [FFR] medical committee tasked with investigating the national team’s Covid-19 outbreak has cleared head coach Fabien Galthié of any wrongdoing.

Roger Salamon told French radio station RTL that Galthié “had the right to do what he did” in leaving the national team’s Six Nations bubble the day after their win over Italy to watch his son play a game in Paris.

Galthié was among the first positive Covid-19 cases in the French camp in the wake of their win over Ireland the following weekend, with their number of positives rising to 16 and leading to the postponement of last weekend’s planned meeting with Scotland.

On Sunday night, FFR president Bernard Laporte first revealed that Galthié had left the bubble to attend the game in Stade Jean Bouin but insisted that his job was safe.

Speaking today, Salamon – who has been tasked with putting together a report for the French government on the outbreak – said Galthié was within his rights to leave the national team’s training camp in Marcoussis, outside Paris.

“In my report, I mention it at the start, it is perfectly clear that what he [Galthié] has done, whatever one might think, he had the right to do what he did, and there was no particular risk,” Salamon told RTL

“He is not patient zero. It is virologically evident, from the distance he visited his son and the distance from which there were the first cases. I’m not saying that to defend him, he doesn’t need to be defended. I say this because it is the truth. ”

Salamon’s full report is now set to be considered by French Sports Minister Roxana Mărăcineanu, who had demanded a full investigation into the circumstances of the outbreak in French camp. RTL reports that a France 7s player – who trained with the 15s squad before the Ireland game – has been identified as the ‘patient zero’.

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Mărăcineanu has warned that French authorities could withdraw the national rugby team’s authorisation to play in the Six Nations if they are found to have breached the Covid-19 protocols agreed before the championship.

Les Bleus’ meeting with Scotland has yet to be rescheduled, with the latest reports from France indicating a preference for Friday 26 March.

France are due to face England in London in their round four clash on Saturday 13 March. 

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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