Emergency meeting called over merger of Racing 92 and Stade Francais

The proposed merger between Racing 92 and Stade Francais will be discussed at an emergency meeting of France's Ligue Nationale de Rugby (LNR) on Friday.

The two capital-based outfits stunned the rugby world on Monday when they announced they would pool their resources from next term and form a Top 14 Paris super club.

But the move has been frowned upon in some quarters with France's Stade centre Jonathan Danty revealing that the news had sent shock waves through the Les Bleus camp and produced talk of strike action from players.

And now the LNR has responded by convening an emergency meeting with Racing 92 and Stade officials, as well as the representatives of players and coaches from both clubs, to discuss the plan.

Sergio Parisse of Stade Francais

An LNR statement said: "The project to bring together the professional sections of the Stade Francais Paris and Racing 92 is provoking numerous reactions, questions and concerns, both on the social and cultural impacts linked to this rapprochement and on the sporting consequences on the Top 14.

"After reviewing this exceptional situation by the steering committee, the LNR proposes to convene an emergency meeting on Friday, March 17, with representatives of the two sports companies and the two associations, and representatives of players and coaches to evaluate and to ensure the best treatment of all the dimensions of this project.

"The LNR calls for dialogue and will pay close attention to this unprecedented dossier in the world of professional rugby and intends to ensure the interests of all stakeholders, in particular players, coaches and co-workers of both clubs."

Racing 92 taking on Munster in January

Stade president Thomas Savare and Racing chief Jacky Lorenzetti believe the two Paris powerhouses are better off merging than standing alone to compete with the likes of Top 14 leaders La Rochelle, Clermont and Toulon.

Racing are currently eighth in the 14-team French league, with Stade struggling in 11th place.

A merger of the two clubs would throw up the enticing prospect of Racing 92 stars such as All Blacks great Dan Carter and France scrum-half Maxime Machenaud playing with Stade figures like Italian colossus Sergio Parisse and Fijian wing Waisea Nayacalevu next term.

But jobs would be put at risk, including those of players and coaches at both clubs, and the news has created uncertainty ahead of France's final Six Nations game against Wales on Saturday.

Dan Carter of Racing 92

Danty and wing Djibril Camara both went against the wishes of the France management and left the squad hotel on Monday to discuss the issue with stunned Stade team-mates at a Paris restaurant.

And in an interview published on the L'Equipe website, Danty said strike action could not be ruled out.

"Yes and no, because if we strike, we would need the Racing players to do so as well," Danty said after the Stade players had met.

"We've always been told we're the club's future. We've often heard that if we leave, the club dies.

"And then we find out what's been done behind our backs."

But a combined statement released on the two clubs' official websites at the same time on Monday morning insisted a merger was the best solution for the two Paris clubs.

"This association, effective from next season, must give birth to a new club that will preserve the roots of Racing 92 and those of the Stade Francais Paris while multiplying the means put at the service of youth and French rugby," the statement said.

"Consolidated by its dual culture, by the fierce determination of its two presidents and its increased audience in a population pool unmatched in France, this new club has a long-term commitment to build a true reference day after day."


 

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