French rugby president Bernard Laporte insists Six Nations ‘must go on’ next year as they face potential losses of £30m with a 2021 tournament behind closed doors
- Organisers have drawn up plans to play 2021 tournament without supporters
- Talks had been held about shifting the tournament until later in the year
- Organisers are still hopeful that governments will allow fans to return
The Six Nations committee have drawn up a financial model that will allow the 2021 competition to go ahead behind closed doors.
Discussions had been held about shifting the tournament until later in the year to avoid losing millions of pounds in ticket revenue.
Organisers are still hopeful that governments will allow fans to return, but French rugby president Bernard Laporte insisted the fixtures will go ahead regardless.
France need to play six matches behind closed doors to avoid a huge £30m shortfall
‘We must play four matches behind closed doors this fall, plus two more during the Six Nations tournament in February and March,’ said Laporte. ‘The shortfall, just for the French Rugby Federation, will be €34million (£30.4m).’
England are currently staging their Autumn Nations Cup games in an empty Twickenham stadium.
An RFU spokesperson said: ‘We continue to work with Government on the safe return of fans to stadiums and remain cautiously optimistic that we will be able to welcome some for the next Six Nations.’
The Autumn Nations Cup was dealt another blow after Fiji’s game against Italy was cancelled because of an ongoing Covid outbreak.
Fiji’s number of cases spiked on Tuesday, with 29 players testing positive in the latest round of testing.
The Pacific Islanders had to forfeit their opener against France, with their participation in the competition in doubt.
Bernard Laporte was bullish over France’s hopes of staging rugby amid the Covid-19 pandemic
Meanwhile, the Premiership season will return behind closed doors this Friday, with some clubs going into the new campaign with just a handful of training sessions.
Leicester Tigers were forced to close their training ground after an outbreak of Covid-19 — and only returned on Tuesday ahead of the opening game against Gloucester.
Their opponents will go into the fixture without injured Italy No 8 Jake Polledri.