Roxana Maracineanu, no doubt disappointed as a big rugby fan, decided to bang her fist on the table following the cancellation of the Toulouse-Cardiff European Cup match. This led to the defeat on green carpet of Stade Toulousain, reigning European champion. The decision of the EPCR caused “misunderstanding” of the French government and the Minister of Sports calls for “an explanation”.
On Friday, the match between Toulouse and Cardiff was canceled due to Covid-19 cases among the French, which caused the defending champion to lose on green carpet, the EPCR being concerned about an uncontrolled epidemic with six positive cases at the start of the week and around twenty two days before the match. “I await an explanation of the reasons which led you to sanction Stade Toulousain when it has a full team to contest the match against Cardiff and scrupulously respects the protocol of the NRL by doing to participate at the European Cup, as your regulations indicate, ”wrote the Minister of Sports Roxana Maracineanu in a letter signed by her hand.
“It’s completely incomprehensible”
In this letter, Maracineanu recalls that France has put in place “a demanding and effective strategy to fight against the epidemic” and that his ministry “has validated the protocol presented by the National Rugby League”, which is intended to be “extremely robust “. According to her, “Stade Toulouse has made the responsible choice to test very widely within the club, including the administrative and logistical staff who revolve around the professional collective, so as to immediately put anyone infected in isolation, avoid any beginning of the cluster and always maintain a sufficient workforce to calmly contest the Championship and the European Cup”.
Before raising his voice: “This responsible and transparent approach is today sanctioned by your decision. She sets up an exemplary penal club in its management of the crisis. Beyond the moral and sporting consequences for the club and its players, your incomprehensible decision discredits the health protocol of our championship and all of French sport. It’s totally incomprehensible. The Toulouse club, defending champion, qualified for the round of 16, playing only two games, all away.
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“An iniquitous decision”, according to the president of the National Rugby League René Bouscatel, for whom “the EPCR (…) decides to cancel a match by not respecting its rules. This discredits those who made this decision but also the organizer and the competition itself”.
A little earlier on Sunday, the National Rugby League had “deplored the EPCR’s obstinacy in denying the obvious: it did take the iniquitous decision to cancel the match in violation of its own regulations”.
“Indeed, and contrary to what the EPCR suggests, its own protocol clearly indicates that its medical committee can only be seized if there is no validation of the match by the national medical authority – in l “Occurrence the LNR expertise commission”, explained the governing body of French professional rugby to Agence France-Presse.