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Top 14 to discuss postponement rather than playing behind closed doors

Ulster’s Champions Cup quarter-final away to Toulouse could be played behind closed doors.

ALL CLUBS INVOLVED in France’s Top 14 will meet this evening to discuss the possible postponement of the league amid concerns over the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

With the French government having banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people on Sunday night, the Top 14 clubs are facing the prospect of playing games behind closed doors when the competition resumes two weekends’ time.

That would result in major financial losses for the French clubs.

top-14-racing-92-v-la-rochelle The Top 14 clubs have an important meeting this evening. Source: Poupart Julien/ABACA

Brive, who are coached by Irishman Jeremy Davidson, have confirmed that the Top 14 sides will meet later today to “discuss the various possibilities” for the league ahead of the resumption of play

Given the prospect of playing behind closed doors or in front of crowds of under 1,000 people, it is expected that there will be calls from some Top 14 clubs for the league to be postponed.

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The ban on gatherings of more than 1,000 people in France has also brought about concerns that Ulster’s Champions Cup quarter-final clash away to Toulouse on 5 April could yet be played behind closed doors.

As reported by Midi Olympique, French clubs have serious concerns over the financial implications of games being played behind closed doors, with Toulouse potentially losing out on up to €4 million.

Clermont, who also have a home quarter-final Champions Cup final against French rivals Racing 92, could also miss out on a major payday if those European ties are played behind closed doors.

It is being suggested that several Top 14 clubs are in favour of a postponement of the league in order to ensure that home games, and the gate receipts that come with them, are eventually played with full crowds in attendance.

Of course, that would place huge pressure on the rest of the rugby calendar and cause severe fixture congestion at another stage.

This evening’s meeting between the Top 14 clubs should make the situation clearer.

About the author:

Murray Kinsella

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