Stade Francais risk relegation over player strike

Racing 92 and Stade Francais to merge into one club from 2017/18 season in radical Top 14 shake-up

The two giants of French rugby have 20 domestic titles between them, including the first two in 1892 and 1893, as well as the two most recent crowns - Stade prevailing in 2015 before Racing defeated Toulon in the final a year ago.

How the merger will exactly affect the players is not yet known but it could mean a turbulent period for both clubs with Stade Francais players alluding to a possible strike following the announcement.

Stade president Thomas Savare and Racing chief Jacky Lorenzetti believe the two Paris powerhouses are better off merging than standing alone to compete with the likes of Top 14 leaders La Rochelle, Clermont and Toulon.

Flying Fijians star lock forward Leone Nakarawa, centre Albert Vulivuli and All Blacks legendary first five eight Dan Carter are playing for Racing 92 while winger Waisea Nayacalevu plays for Stade Francais.

Numerous players will be left without a club as a result of the merger.

"The National Rugby League is proposing an emergency meeting between the two sports companies, the associations and representatives of the players and coaches on Friday, March 17", the LNR said in a statement on Wednesday. It is thought that Lorenzetti will take charge of the new club at the start of next season.


Amid their very understandable anger, the Stade players have gone on strike, and as a result, are refusing to train and play this weekend's game against Castres.

Racing 92 and Stade Francais are to be merged into one club from next season, the two sides have announced on Monday morning, triggering a radical shake-up of the Top 14 that is likely to produce a Parisian "super club" containing the likes of Dan Carter and Sergio Parisse. "And now we find out they did this behind our backs", he said.

"Both clubs have got a huge history in French rugby and Stade Francais have won the title many times, they have a massive tradition just like Racing".

"The city should ask the (new) club to pay a rent for the next 25 years", Tchale-Watchou said.

"Consolidated by its twin culture, the fierce determination of its two presidents and its increased audience in a population pool unrivaled in France, this new club has a long-term goal to build a true giant day after day".

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