Castres outraged after being booted out of Europe for COVID cases


Castres outraged after being booted out of Europe for COVID cases

Sunday, September 20, 2020

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LONDON, United Kingdom (AFP) — Castres were thrown out of the European Challenge Cup yesterday, 24 hours before their quarter-final in Leicester, because of four positive COVID-19 test results.

The French club confirmed that three players and one manager tested positive before the team's departure to England.

The limit for a match to take place is three, said European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR), the organiser of the European club rugby competitions.

“The decision followed a meeting of a medical committee comprising medical leads from the unions, league bodies and both clubs, and subsequent independent medical advice,” EPCR said in a statement.

“Castres have to forfeit the match and Leicester will qualify for the Challenge Cup semi-finals.”

Castres were outraged, releasing a statement denouncing the “amateurism” of EPCR.

“No specific rules, including on a maximum number of cases, appear in the EPCR rules, which seems to be amateurism unworthy of a European competition,” Castres wrote.

“The decision to disqualify Castres, even before the results of the new tests are known, leaves players, staff and the public confused and frustrated at not being able to play this long-awaited quarter-final.”

The forfeit is a first for professional rugby.

On the resumption of European rugby after the long coronavirus interruption, EPCR adopted a tight schedule to complete its 2019-20 competitions with only a week between the quarter-finals and semi-finals, which allows no room for postponements.

Leicester join Bristol and Bordeaux-Begles, who qualified on the pitch, in the last four.

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