Ligue Nationale de Rugby, the governing body of the Top 14 clubs in France, have stated that they are unhappy with the length of the Test window revealed by World Rugby on Wednesday. 

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World Rugby officials stated that the Test calendar in Europe would run from October 24 to December 5 to accommodate the postponed Six Nations matches at the end of October, a rest weekend on November 7 and then a programme of international matches involving the Six Nations and invited teams hosted in Europe from November 14 through to December 5.

A World Rugby vote is due to take place on July 30 regarding the temporary amendment of regulation 9 to cover the release of players for international duty during this amended temporary window.

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However, the plan has drawn the ire of clubs in France who claim it is longer than what they were prepared to agree and they fear the staging of a sixth French match.

An LNR statement read: “If this extension of the international window covered by rule 9 is adopted for the fall of 2020 by the World Rugby council on July 30, it will be a unilateral and unbalanced decision, taken against the position of the professional leagues, and in particular of the LNR which expressed on several occasions its disagreement with World Rugby during the last weeks.

“The LNR and TOP 14 clubs have made a very important effort showing their solidarity with the FFR and the federations in this particular context resulting from the health crisis by proposing, on an exceptional basis, that the French team can play up to five international matches (including the postponed match of the Six Nations) instead of the three provided for in the calendar and in the FFR-LNR agreement.

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“The NRL notes, however, that the northern hemisphere international match schedule will be announced ‘in due course by the respective federations and the organisers of international competitions’ and that World Rugby does not impose a predefined number of matches.

“We, therefore, hope that an agreement can be reached quickly with the FFR on the programme of the France team and on the number of days of availability of players within this international window while respecting the number of matches (five) that the LNR and the TOP 14 clubs have indicated to be ready to validate despite the extremely difficult situation they are facing after a stoppage of the championship for six months.”

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