Dragons’ anxious wait for government decision

Catalans Dragons are awaiting French government guidelines on Covid-19 travel restrictions following the decision last week by the UK to impose 14-day quarantine on all arrivals from France.

British officials acted following rising levels of virus infection in France, but the policy does not affect the Catalans’ ability to fly into the UK for fixtures because Rugby League has been classed as an elite sport and is exempt from quarantine.

The Dragons have seven home fixtures planned in Perpignan for the remainder of the Super League season and club officials are hoping these games will go ahead without restrictions on English teams landing in France.

The French Health Minister is drawing up plans for reciprocal quarantine rules, which will bring border controls “into harmony” with the UK. Current French guidelines allow elite sports to compete internationally under strict bio-security protocols.

“We’re fully expecting the French government to announce exactly the same measures as the British government,” a Catalans insider told League Express.

“There is no reason why our home games will be affected, because travel for elite sport is permitted.”

Catalans have hired a private jet for their opening fixtures of the season restart and their first three matches in the UK have gone without incident.

“We have shown it is possible,” said the Dragons official.

“Of course, it is expensive but there are many other ways of facilitating transport to Perpignan under isolation procedures.”

Under current guidelines, Catalans are allowed to host home fixtures with limited attendances of up to 5,000, which would accommodate the club’s season-ticket holders and sponsors.

The Dragons have two more trips to Britain to face Wakefield in the Challenge Cup and Wigan in Super League, before hosting Leeds Rhinos at Stade Gilbert Brutus on September 7th.

A spokesman for the Rugby Football League admitted that they were awaiting developments in legislation on a daily basis, adding: “The RFL and Super League continue to liaise with Catalans Dragons regarding the position of the French authorities.”

A decision by the French government is expected early this week.

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