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Top 14 and Pro D2 - French rugby union's top two divisions to be abandoned

30 Apr 2020
John Eastwood 30 Apr 2020
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  • Top 14 and Pro D2 will be abandoned because of the coronavirus pandemic
  • Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) have said the competitions can’t continue
Top 14 rugby bordeaux
Bordeaux-Begles currently lead the French Top 14 rugby union competition (Getty Images)

French rugby union’s top two divisions will be abandoned because of the coronavirus pandemic. Organisers Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) have said that the Top 14 and Pro D2 competitions can’t continue.

The decision could set an example for the English Premiership and the Pro14 rugby competitions. The English Premiership was working towards restarting in July.

And an LNR statement released on Thursday read: ”After consultation with club presidents, the board will propose to the LNR management committee to pronounce the end of this 2019-20 season, and to focus on the organisation of the launch of the 2020-21 editions of the two championships starting in September 2020.”

The European Champions Cup could also be affected. Three French clubs - Clermont, Racing 92 and Toulouse - were due to compete in the Champions Cup quarter-finals with the final scheduled to be played at Stade Vélodrome in Marseille on 23 May.

Clermont were due to face Racing 92 with Toulouse set to play Irish side Ulster.

The move comes after Tuesday’s announcement that the Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 football seasons would not resume. 

That decision was taken following French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe’s statement that the 2019-20 sporting season was over after his government banned all sporting events until September.

Bordeaux Begles are currently eight points clear of Lyon at the summit of the Top 14 table. The Top 14 winners are usually decided via semi-finals and finals but the LNR has not announced if Bordeaux will be named as champions.

The Top 14 is one of the three major professional leagues in Europe alongside the English Premiership and Pro14.

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