Catalans Dragons v Leeds Rhinos hit by coronavirus as Super League stages behind-closed-doors game
The Super league match on Saturday will be played in front of no fans
The first-ever Super League match to be played behind closed doors will take place this Saturday after Catalans Dragons took the decision to play their game against Leeds Rhinos in front of no supporters.
Die the the coronavirus outbreak and the latest advice by the French government, there have been doubts the match at the Gilbert Brutus Stadium in Perpignan would go ahead.
But with the schedule already congested and both clubs hoping for a Challenge Cup run which would mean having to rearrange for a later date in mid-week, a decision has been made for the match to go ahead as planned.
It will, however, be the first game to be played behind locked doors. Catalans have taken that decision alongside Leeds to ensure the game can be played, with an alternative being having a limited crowd for the event of just 1,000 supporters.
But that would have brought with it the difficulty in selecting which fans weer allowed in.
For the hundreds of Rhinos fans who are travelling over to France this week for the game the news will come as a blow.
Catalans Dragons statement
Catalans Dragons confirm that, following meetings with the Préfecture des Pyrénées-Orientales and in accordance with the decisions taken by the French government due to concerns over Covid-19, the Super League round 7 game against Leeds Rhinos, scheduled one Saturday 14 March at 6 pm, will be played behind closed doors at the Gilbert Brutus stadium.
A meeting has also been organized between the RFL, Super League and both clubs to look at the different options.
Catalans Dragons Chairman Bernard Guasch: "Following the unprecedented decision of the French Minister of Sports, the Dragons' choice was to switch the fixtures. Unfortunately, the Leeds Rhinos club did not accept our request.
We then proposed to postpone the match and to play it later in the season, midweek or weekend depending on the Cup results of each club. We even offer a financial compensation to Leeds club for their additional travelling costs.
Remember that we were in the same situation a month ago in Wakefield without solution or possible compensation for the canceled game due to bad weather. To date, we are still waiting for Wakefield and the RFL to reschedule this match.
Unfortunately the RFL, the Leeds Rhinos and the RFL Board did not hear our reasons, even after appealing the decision, and told us to play the game as scheduled.
We strongly regret this decision which will hugely impact the finances of the club with revenues already anticipated in our annual budget.
Unable to find a solution to choose only 1,000 supporters from our 5,500 season ticket holders and sponsors, the club has chosen to play behind closed doors.
Details of ticket refund procedures will be confirmed as soon as possible.
https://www.hulldailymail.co.uk/sport/r ... us-3936460