Six Nations organizers have drawn up contingency plans to seek clarification on the logistics of France’s participation in the Championship just 10 days before its scheduled opening.
Culminating in the virtual launch of the tournament, Managing Director Ben Morel expressed his belief that the outstanding issue of travel restrictions to and from the UK would be finalized with the French government.
The Six Nations have stepped up their coronavirus protocols, including adding a second round of tests each week, to help convince Paris that the event can be safely hosted.
It was concerns over cross-border travel that saw the French government barring its 14 top clubs from competing in Europe this month.
Travel to European Union destinations Italy and Ireland has been allowed, but the visit to England and the arrival of Scotland and Wales at the Stade de France is causing complications.
“All of our protocols were considered extremely robust and we are seeking clarification on the specific rules for quarantine exemptions,” Morel said.
“We are awaiting clarification on the entry of the United Kingdom and the reinstatement of the French team or other unions. We are confident that we will get the right authorization.
“The only thing we are looking for the green light and clarification on is the seven day isolation and to whom it applies.
“In general, elite sport enjoys blanket exemptions because it has strict protocols.
“We need the details of the exemption and we need to understand: is the exemption for players, for operational staff, or for both?
“We believe the exemptions are granted on a case-by-case basis (on a basis). This is the green light we are waiting for. ”
Asked whether Scotland or Wales could travel to Paris a week in advance in order to comply with quarantine rules, Morel said: “We are looking at a series of contingencies, but we are not expecting to have this problem.
“If that were the case then Scotland would play fallow weekends and Wales would come from Italy, so there are solutions.
“We are confident in our ability to organize matches at the right time, it is more about logistics gymnastics to which we have to adapt.”
In the event that any matches have to be canceled due to a coronavirus outbreak among one of the competing nations, Morel insists that every effort will be made to arrange them for another date.
The two-week fallow provides leeway for this and the policy is a departure from the fall Nations Cup when the games were automatically called off with a 28-0 win.
“We are all doing our best to make sure that doesn’t happen. We would deal with each specific issue on a case-by-case basis. The main objective would be to reprogram, ”Morel said.
“The reason we went for immediate results in the Fall Nations Cup was that it had to evolve like a competition because there was a finals weekend.
“An immediate result week after week was therefore necessary. In the case of the Six Nations, of course we would like to protect the sporting integrity of the championship as much as possible.