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France boss Fabien Galthié.
France boss Fabien Galthié.

French government warns it could pull Les Bleus' approval to play in Six Nations

The Sports Minister wants more information on the Covid-19 outbreak in the France camp.
Feb 27th 2021, 1:55 PM 9,290 2

FRANCE’S SPORTS MINISTER, Roxana Mărăcineanu, has warned the French rugby team that their authorisation to play in the Six Nations could be withdrawn if it is found that Fabien Galthié’s squad have not been adhering to strict Covid-19 protocols agreed before the championship got underway.

France were scheduled to play Scotland tomorrow in the Six Nations but the match was postponed following 16 positive Covid-19 tests in the French camp since their round two meeting with Ireland. The game has yet to be rescheduled.

Several reports in France have suggested that head coach Galthié broke the team’s Covid-19 bubble and was ‘patient zero’ in the outbreak but he has stringently rejected those suggestions.

The French team trained with members of the France 7s squad in the lead-up to the Ireland game, with the 7s set-up also subsequently recording positive Covid-19 cases. 

The French Rugby Federation has yet to publicly confirm how the outbreak of Covid-19 started in their camp and Sports Minister Mărăcineanu is demanding further clarity.

“At the moment, I am awaiting the information which will be given to me by the FFR who came to see me [before the Six Nations] with a serious protocol that wanted the players and staff to remain in a bubble with strict entry and exit conditions,” said Mărăcineanu on French radio station RMC Sport last night.

“At the Sports Ministry, we have allowed players to travel and also to train under certain conditions. We have given authorisation, but we can also withdraw this authorisation.”

“Where I am worried is that we made an exception for athletes, for an organization and I was very keen on it. They committed to a certain protocol and when they are committed, it is not only for rugby.

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“It is also for the rest of the sport, for the rest of the tournaments which are held elsewhere, that we must all collectively be responsible. Then when there are mistakes, you have to take responsibility for your mistakes.”

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Murray Kinsella

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