Sports minister Roxana Maracineanu has threatened to withdraw France from the current Six Nations campaign if the French Rugby Federation does not properly investigate the origin of the Covid-19 outbreak within the squad.
France’s crucial Six Nations match against Scotland had to be rescheduled after 16 members of France’s team, including head coach Fabien Galthie, tested positive for Covid-19. Although the origin of the outbreak within the squad remains unclear, it has since been revealed that Galthie broke the Covid-19 protocols when he left the team’s bio-bubble.
But while FFR president Bernard Laporte insists that ‘to my knowledge, nobody’s at fault’, the saga has now taken another twist as the French government is now demanding a thorough investigation into the protocol breach. It has even sent out a thinly veiled threat to pull the plug of France’s continued participation if the cause of the outbreak is not established.
‘We asked an investigation from the FFR and from [president] Bernard Laporte, who himself came to see us before the tournament to present to us the protocols and tell us that everything was going to go well, that the bubble was going to be strictly respected with controlled entries and exits,’ Roxana Maracineanu told reputable French publication Le’quipe.
‘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don’t explain to us how it could happen, then the authorisation that has been given [to play in the Six Nations] can be withdrawn.’
Meanwhile, former Scotland wing Kenny Logan has urged Six Nations chiefs to award Gregor Townsend’s side a walkover victory for their postponed Test and asked that France be fined for their the Covid-19 protocol breach within their ranks.
‘I would like to see Scotland play France, of course I would, but it’s difficult to see how that can happen without Scotland losing key players and being at a huge disadvantage,’ Logan explained.
‘If that’s not possible then France should forfeit the match by 28-0 as happened in the Autumn internationals.
‘People will say that the Autumn internationals were different in that there was a set time frame and they were building towards a final, but it’s the same with the Six Nations, which has been designed to build towards a Super Saturday.
‘What has happened has damaged the integrity of the tournament and the whole thing is a complete shambles. It’s also unfair on Scotland, who are being treated like an afterthought.’
Photo: Brian Lawless/Getty Images