|Stade Francais Players Strike Over Merger|
Wednesday, 15 March 2017 13:23
The playing staff of French Rugby side Stade Francais have taken strike action over the club's proposed merger with fellow side Racing 92.
Robins Tchale-Watchou, head of the players' union in the European country, said the players are on ''open-ended strike''. The players voted overwhelmingly to take the action, which will mean that Stade Français will not fulfil their fixture at Castres on Saturday.
The two clubs announced on Monday that the merger is set to take effect from the 2017-18 season, with a new Parisian super-club being established. The new super-club has been lined up to play in Racing's new U Arena, which is expected to open by October.
The move has been greeted negatively by many commentators, with a lack of respect for both clubs' history being cited as an issue.
Tchale-Watchou said, “Whatever the players decide, we will support them 100 per cent. The players are going to fight,” he added. “This has been done without any consultation with the players, the fans or the institutions. It's total panic.
“What do we do about those players who signed pre-contracts for next season, those players who have started making arrangements for next season?
“You won't fill one stadium with two half stadiums. It's not some French can-can, it's rugby. Fans won't go and support another club just like that. They're just burying 130 years of rugby history.”