France make Covid jab MANDATORY for sports stars, meaning England may have to drop unvaccinated players in the Six Nations, while Chelsea could only field an entirely double-jabbed team at Lille in the Champions League
- From January 15, double-vaccinations will be mandatory for professional sports people in France
- The new Covid-19 rules were announced by France president Emmanuel Macron
- A decision will be taken ‘within days’ on whether the measure would apply to non-French teams competing in France
- It could pose problems for Eddie Jones’ England side facing France in the Six Nations on March 19
- Holders Chelsea have also drawn Lille in the last-16 of the Champions League
New coronavirus restrictions in France could cause problems for non-French teams competing in the country in 2022 – including the England rugby team and Chelsea.
France president Emmanuel Macron announced that full, double-vaccinations will be mandatory for professional sports people in the country from January 15 under new Covid rules.
With Eddie Jones’ England side set to play France in Paris in the final round of the 2022 Six Nations on March 19, the new rules could see unvaccinated players unable to play.
It is unknown how many England players are not vaccinated but centre Henry Slade, who has Type 1 diabetes. insisted last summer that he would not be taking the vaccine due to problems with jabs in the past.
A spokeswoman for the French sports ministry said a decision would be made ‘within days’ on how the new rules will affect non-French teams competing in the country.
Champions League holders Chelsea have drawn Ligue 1 side Lille in the last-16 of the competition, with the second-leg due to be played in Lille on March 16 – Thomas Tuchel may only be able to pick double-vaccinated players for the crucial encounter.
England rugby head coach Eddie Jones may only be able to pick double-vaccinated players for their Six Nations clash in France after new Covid rules announced by Emmanuel Macron
England centre Henry Slade (L) insisted last summer that he would not be taking the vaccine
Currently, professional and amateur sportspeople in France need to show a Covid passport to gain access to stadiums and participate in games.
This can be obtained through being double-vaccinated or through a negative test, yet under the new rules the latter option will be remove in favour of a sole vaccination passport.
An RFU spokesperson said: ‘We will always follow government travel advice and we will continue to monitor the situation in relation to England’s Six Nations game in France.’
Latest figures state that 98 per cent of elite rugby players in France are vaccinated, with the figure slightly lower at 95 per cent of footballers. Yet, in both cases, that is higher than respective figures in England.
Chelsea face Lille in the Champions League and Thomas Tuchel may only be able to pick players who are vaccinated (Note: no suggestion players pictured have refused the jab)
France have also become the latest nation to limit spectators at football matches with new Covid rules announced limiting outdoor gatherings to just 5,000 people.
The new measures will, for at least the next three weeks, limit all public gatherings to 2,000 people for indoor events and 5,000 for outdoor events.
Although the strain appears milder than previous variants, officials in France have warned that hospitals face being overwhelmed following a record 100,000 positive test results being reported on Saturday.
The numbers are the highest daily levels in France since the start of the pandemic nearly two years ago.
It follows similar measures taken in Germany where 15,000 fans are now restricted to Bundesliga matches following rules brought in earlier in December.
France has moved to restrict outdoor events including football matches to just 5,000 fans
Scotland have been even tighter on restrictions where football grounds have been limited to just 500 supporters to attend matches from Boxing Day.
Celtic fans clashed with police on in an attempt to watch their side’s clash against St Johnstone at the McDiarmid Stadium in Perth.
Supporters outside the ground brought green flares and unveiled banners reading, ‘F**k the SNP’ as they attempted to storm the ground.
Meanwhile, despite talks on Monday, Boris Johnson has ruled out any immediate restrictions in England – leaving Premier League grounds remaining at full capacity.
Confirming England would be going it alone in its decision to hold fire on hitting the panic button, Sajid Javid declared: ‘There will be no further measures before the New Year.’