PARIS (Reuters) - The French rugby league (LNR) has called an emergency meeting for Friday following the announcement of a strike by Stade Francais players to protest a proposed merger with Paris rivals Racing 92.
“The National Rugby League is proposing an emergency meeting between the two sports companies, the associations and representatives of the players and coaches on Friday, March 17,” the LNR said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The LNR is calling for dialogue and will monitor very closely this unprecedented matter in the history of French rugby.”
The clubs announced the surprise merger on Monday and a day later, players’ union chief Robins Tchale-Watchou said Stade Francais players were starting an “open-ended strike”, ruling out Saturday’s trip to Castres for a Top 14 match.
According to LNR regulations, Stade Francais will be docked two points while Castres be awarded five, with the threat of relegation looming over the Parisian side if they forfeited three games.
The merger has also split opinion among the authorities with the LNR saying it was in favour of the move while the French federation said it was “shocked” by the proposal.
Racing reached the final of Europe’s Champions Cup last season while Stade Francais were finalists in 2001 and 2005.
The Racing squad features Dan Carter, a world champion with New Zealand’s All Blacks, and the club presidents believe that a combination of internationals from each side would give birth to a European power.
Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by John O'Brien