French Minister of Sports Roxana Maracineanu threatened to withdraw France’s authorization to play in the Six Nations if the French Rugby Federation (FFR) does not properly investigate the origin of a COVID-19 outbreak within the squad.
France’s match against Scotland was postponed after 11 players, as well as staff, including head coach Fabien Galthie, tested positive for COVID-19 over the past week, prompting Maracineanu to ask for an investigation.
FFR president Bernard Laporte said that “to my knowledge, nobody’s at fault,” but Maracineanu appeared to disagree.
“We asked an investigation from the FFR and from president 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,” Maracineanu said.
“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don’t explain to us how it could happen, then the authorization that has been given [to play in the Six Nations] can be withdrawn,” she added.
France were scheduled to play against Scotland at the Stade de France today, but the Six Nations announced on Thursday that the match was postponed, as it looks for another date.
Last month, France banned travel to and from non-EU countries, but the French Ministry of Sports gave the team a special authorization to take part in the Six Nations.
France, who won their first two matches, are set to travel to England on Wednesday next week.
“I don’t think it was written in the protocol that the players could go out to eat waffles,” Maracineanu said, following reports that France players went out in Rome when they played Italy three weeks ago.
“If they went out to eat waffles, they had to be retested when they re-entered the bubble,” Maracineanu said. “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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