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BREAKING: The Stade/Racing Merger Is OFF

BREAKING: The Stade/Racing Merger Is OFF
By Gavin Cooney
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It often takes quite a bit to take the eyes of the rugby media off the Six Nations, but that's what Racing 92 and Stade Francais achieved at the beginning of the week. In a bolt from the blue, both clubs announced that they would merge into a single, monstrous Paris-based club from next season. The clubs announced their intentions in a joint statement by both club presidents, with the news blindsiding players, staff, and supporters of both clubs. The bewilderment soon gave way to criticism.

The reaction among Stade players were furious, and they voted to go on strike this week ahead of a scheduled game with Castres, with up to 45 players across both clubs facing into the unemployment.


In the last few moments, the Racing president Jacky Lorenzetti has released a statement on his club's website confirming that the merger is now off. In a wistful statement, he confirmed that the level of opposition has determined in his mind that things are better off as they currently are:

I decided to give up this beautiful project.

I sincerely believe that it was ambitious enough to garner the approval of the majority. I felt that the advantages he offered to the Ile-de-France rugby would outweigh the inevitable efforts he would imply.
Necessary efforts on both sides, two strong cultures, two marvelous stories, it was necessary to write the sequel not to the first person of the singular, but to the first person of the plural.

I have heard and understood the strong reservations raised by this beautiful plan of union.
In any case, social, political, cultural, human and sporting conditions are not fulfilled. Perhaps we were right too soon, the future will tell us ...

I have not measured how much the need to explain, To share my vision and to present the modalities to the ranks of the Racing 92 was a top priority. I did not expect such resistance, especially internally! I would like to thank the players Ciel and Blanc for defending their convictions, courage, generosity and solidarity. Especially with a great sense of responsibility. I am proud of them, of all of them.

Only my passion, my enthusiasm, the desire to be useful to rugby and beyond to the French sport have guided me. Rugby is a milieu of passions. It is our honor to have convictions and defend them. But the time is too short. It is not possible then that a season is played to lead a dialogue and overcome tensions.

I want to tell the big rugby family, the loyal partners of Racing 92, the supporters, the players, the sports and administrative staff of the two teams and the volunteers of the rugby schools that it was not in my Intention to oppose one part of the family to another.

This family is the beating heart of our sport. As for me, I am only a passionate servant.

That's that, then. What a mental week.

See Also: Rob Howley Slams French Management Over The Biggest Controversy From France/Wales



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