THE IRISH rugby team may run into a bit of trouble when the 2022 Six Nations fixture against France takes place. New restrictions and requirements over Covid were put in place by the French government this week.
To combat the virus, Emmanuel Macron's new rules state that there will be mandatory full vaccinations for professional sportspeople in France, from January 15.
Sports personnel in France must show a vaccination certificate if they are to enter stadiums and arenas. It was previously Covid passport [proof of vaccination or recent negative test], but the intention to get everyone jabbed has increased.
Under the new set of Covid rules in France, spectators at outdoor sporting events will be limited to 5,000 from January 15 until the situation is reviewed later in 2022. At present, Irish sporting fixtures have an outdoor capacity cap of 5,000 until January 30 at the earliest.
💉 From January 15, all sportspeople in France must be full vaccinated.
🏆 That could therefore impact the Six Nations which starts on February 5. 👇 https://t.co/rsXlf9YYNr
— Planet Rugby (@PlanetRugby) December 29, 2021
More information will be confirmed 'within days' whether proof of full Covid vaccine would be required for teams visiting France from abroad, this comes from a spokesperson for the French sports ministry.
It could be a problem for athletes who have not taken the vaccine for personal or medical reasons
It could also impact England and Italy, who play in Paris in 2022
According to the IRFU Ireland 99.2% uptake of Covid vaccinations across professional players under their remit, so it won't have a massive impact.
A statement read
'The IRFU confirms that the current vaccination rate across our professional team structures which includes players, coaches and support staff is 99.2%. This includes a small number of people who are awaiting a second dose.'
We have already seen the French government intervene, earlier this month, to prevent their Top 14 sides from traveling to the UK for Champions Cup fixtures. This led to five fixtures in round two of the Champions Cup pool stages being postponed.
An England RFU spokesperson says the union is monitoring the situation but 'will always follow government travel advice'.
In France, approximately 98% of professional rugby players are vaccinated while that figure is around 95% for footballers in the country.