French Minister threatens Six Nations ban

Sun, 28/02/2021, 09:40 pm
AAP
by AAP
France could be withdrawn from the 2021 Six Nations following their COVID-19 outbreak | Getty Images

France's Six Nations campaign is hanging by a thread after the country's sports minister Roxana Maracineanu threatened to withdraw the team's authorisation to play if the rugby federation (FFR) does not properly investigate the origin of a COVID-19 outbreak within the squad.

France's game against Scotland - scheduled for this weekend - was postponed after 11 French players, as well as staff including head coach Fabien Galthie, tested positive for the virus in the last week.

FFR president Bernard Laporte said "to my knowledge, nobody's at fault", but Maracineanu appeared to disagree.

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"We asked for an investigation from the FFR and from Bernard Laporte, who himself came to see us before the tournament to present us the protocol and tell us that everything was going to go well, that the bubble was going to be strictly respected with controlled entries and exits," Maracineanu told L'Equipe TV.

"Now that we can see that this is not the case, I am waiting for him to come and explain to us what has happened.

"If nothing happens, if we don't look into this chain of contaminations and they don't explain to us how it could happen, then the authorisation that has been given (to play in the Six Nations) can be withdrawn."

France were scheduled to play against Scotland at the Stade de France on Sunday but the Six Nations announced on Thursday the match was postponed as it looks for another date.

Last month, France banned travel to and from non-European Union countries, but the sports ministry gave the rugby team special dispensation to take part in the Six Nations.

France, who won their first two games, are due to travel to England on March 10."I don't think it was written in the protocol that the players could go out to eat waffles," Maracineanu said, following reports French players went out in Rome when they played Italy three weeks ago.

"If they went out to eat waffles, they had to be re-tested when they re-entered the bubble.

"We want to know if this has been done because it is the conditions of re-entering and exiting the bubble that make it a bubble, by definition."

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