Battle lines drawn in star player release row
The Rugby Paper|August 02, 2020
Battle lines drawn in star player release row
Centre of controversy: Fabien Galthie coaches his French squad

Eight days. That’s how long France’s Top 14 clubs gave World Rugby to respond to a shot-across-the-bows legal letter demanding information ahead of further proceedings over the end-of-year international window and the extension of player release regulations.

The letter was sent, on the clubs’ behalf, by the Ligue National de Rugby (LNR), and is another salvo in a simmering cold war between club and country.

Under the expanded international window – which will run from October 24 to December 5 – France will face Ireland in the 2020 Six Nations match postponed from March, and are set to play in an eight-team pool-based tournament featuring the Six Nations sides, Japan and Fiji.

The LNR, which manages France’s two professional leagues, the Top 14 and ProD2, accuses World Rugby of changing the international calendar, “without any real consultation with the professional leagues and in particular the LNR”.

The extension of the international window to seven weeks, including one rest weekend, instead of the usually scheduled three, has been described as “unacceptable” for French clubs, who fear it “would cause considerable economic damage …they are already very hard hit by the Covid-19 health crisis”.

The letter and the threat of possible future legal action are pre-emptive strikes from the LNR ahead of talks on the calendar and player release with the FFR.


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August 02, 2020