“I remember Paris in ’16…. two strong clubs taking to fields of green.” Something like that, anyway.
So now that I have poor Gary Moore properly a-spin in his final resting place, I wanted to take a minute to talk about the crisis currently unfolding in French rugby. Most of you will have heard the news that started to break earlier in the week about a proposed merger between the capital’s two Top 14 clubs, Racing 92 and Stade Francais.
A lot has been written about this already, even if real facts are thin on the ground. It’s rumoured that ongoing financial woes at the latter club, renowned for their avant-garde pink playing strip, have led to takeover rumours from abroad. The deal to see the clubs merge is understood to be little more than a local takeover from their closest rivals, in the somewhat naive hopes of consolidating costs and support base. Kind of like thinking you could successfully merge Liverpool Football Club with Everton and expect all the fans to be onside, if you think about it.
Now, with all of the financial and political nonsense going on at boardroom levels, my thoughts immediately go out to players and coaches at both clubs; logic dictates that at least half of these people will imminently lose their jobs if the merger goes ahead. While it must be a terrible time for all of them, foremost in my thoughts are those South African – and particularly former Sharks – players who find themselves caught up in this mess. Breaking news would suggest that the Stade Francais player corps – including Craig Burden, Heinke van der Merwe, Gerhard Mostert, Willem Alberts and Meyer Bosman, former Sharks players all – have voted this morning to go on strike indefinitely in opposition to the merger. On the Racing roster we have just Sean Robinson from our former ranks.
I’d like to extend our very best wishes to all of these players in the hope that this situation is quickly resolved in such a way that no livelihoods and careers are put at risk. Bon courage à tous!Tweet