This Saturday’s fixture between Catalan Dragons and Leeds Rhinos in Perpignan will go ahead but be played behind closed doors, Super League have confirmed.
There were concerns the match may have to be postponed, following measures put in place by French authorities in an attempt to prevent increased spread of the coronavirus.
The French government placed a ban on gatherings or more than 1,000 people, blighting several sporting fixtures across the country.
After liaising with both Catalans and Leeds, however, Super League have made the decision to allow the game to go ahead without any supporters present, primarily due to financial and logistical implications.
In a statement, they said: “In light of yesterday’s decision by the French government banning public gatherings of more than 1,000, a meeting was convened this morning by the RFL which involved Super League Europe, Catalans Dragons and Leeds Rhinos, to discuss the impact on this weekend’s scheduled fixture.
“Following these discussions, the RFL Board has determined that the match should be played as scheduled this weekend.
“Factors considered were that the match can be played; the absence of free weekends later in the season; that Catalans already have two fixtures to be rescheduled; the various logistical and player welfare issues surrounding midweek fixtures; the unreasonable financial impact that would have been caused to Leeds if the fixtures were switched; and the importance of maintaining the integrity of the Super League competition.
“The club will comply with the restrictions placed upon them by the French government and other arrangements will be resolved between the two clubs.
“The RFL stresses that this was a difficult decision enforced by the current circumstances and acknowledges and has sympathy with the impact it will have on the Catalans club. The RFL will consult with the Catalans regarding their other home fixture scheduled for the period covered by the decree, against Toronto Wolfpack on Saturday April 11.”