‘We have given an authorisation, we can also withdraw that authorisation’
The French Minister for Sport Roxana Maracineanu has threatened to withdraw the France national team from the Six Nations after Les Bleus recorded 11 positive coronavirus cases.
As a result, France’s Six Nations encounter with Scotland that was due to take place this Sunday in Paris was postponed, with tournament organisers currently trying to find a suitable date to reschedule the match for.
Sports Minister Maracineanu was speaking to French television channel BFMTV, and confirmed that she was awaiting an explanation from the French Rugby Federation over the large amount of positive cases.
Suite aux tests RT-PCR effectués ce jeudi 26 février au soir, tous les résultats sont négatifs. À part les cas identifiés précédemment, il n’y a donc pas de nouveau cas positif à la Covid-19.
À partir de ce matin, les joueurs rentrent à leur domicile par transport individuel.
— France Rugby (@FranceRugby) February 26, 2021
“For the moment I am awaiting the information which will be given to me by the FFR who had come to see me with a serious protocol which wanted the athletes and the staff to remain in a bubble with strict entry and exit conditions,” Maracineanu said, via RugbyRama.
The vice-president of the FFR Serge Simon told Midi Olympique that they were aware who “patient zero” is, saying that he was a “physical trainer” for the French squad.
Potential withdrawal from the Six Nations
However, the Sports Minister suggested that she has been given contradictory information and called for the president of the FFR to speak directly to her.
“Patient zero, he has changed three times. So I would prefer that it be the person who came to present us the protocol who attests to me, that is – say the president of the federation and not Serge Simon,” Maracineanu said.
“At the Ministry of Sports, we have authorised players to travel and also to train under certain conditions. We have given an authorisation, we can also withdraw that authorisation.
“Where I’m worried is that we made an exception for athletes, for an organisation and I was very keen on it. They committed to a certain protocol. And when they did, it wasn’t just for rugby.
“It’s also for the rest of the sport, for the rest of the tournaments that are held elsewhere, that we all collectively have to be responsible. Then when there are mistakes, you have to take responsibility for your mistakes.”
Should France be removed from the Six Nations for the rest of the championship, it would have far-reaching implications for everyone involved.