March 13, 2020 / 10:20 AM / 3 months ago

UPDATE 2-Rugby-France's Top 14 rugby league suspended due to coronavirus

(Updates with Top 14 league suspended)

PARIS, March 13 (Reuters) - France’s Top 14, the richest rugby union league in the world, was suspended on Friday due to the coronavirus outbreak, the country’s National Rugby League (LNR) said in statement.

France has banned gatherings of more than 1,000 people in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 4,900 people globally.

"The LNR announces the temporary suspension of its Top 14 and Pro D2 championships," the LNR, which administers professional club rugby in France, said in a statement on the Top 14 website here

Earlier on Friday, the French Rugby Federation (FFR), which oversees amateur rugby and the country’s national team, announced that it was suspending all its competitions due to the outbreak.

France’s Six Nations clash against Ireland that was initially scheduled to take place in Paris this weekend was postponed earlier this week.

"All championships, of all categories without exception, are suspended, as well as all activities of the Rugby Schools in order to effectively combat the spread of COVID-19," French Rugby President Bernard Laporte said in a statement here

“We ask our entire network to scrupulously respect these instructions.”

France’s top flight football leagues — Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 — were also suspended until further notice on Friday.

The Irish Rugby Football Union had on Thursday suspended all domestic rugby activity until March 29. (Reporting by Sudip Kar-Gupta and Patrick Vignal, additional reporting by Rohith Nair and Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Catherine Evans and Jon Boyle)

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