more than 5000 spectators in the stadiums, in Toulouse it is “no”, in Clermont and Rodez it is “yes”

The shock of the Top 14 rugby between Clermont and Stade Toulousain will be played in front of 10,000 spectators on Sunday evening in Clermont-Ferrand. Yet the Ernest-Wallon stadium in Toulouse remains limited to 5,000 supporters while in Rodez, the football club announces that it can refuel: stories of “gauge”.

It’s a story of “gauge“for a story of”zone“.
This Sunday, September 6 at 9 p.m., the shock of the 1st day of the Rugby Top 14 for the 2020-2021 season will see ASM Clermont-Auvergne welcome the Stade Toulousain to the Stade Marcel Michelin in Clermont-Ferrand (Puy-de-Dôme ).
After the uncertainty raised by a series of apparently positive Covid-19 tests within the Toulouse professional workforce, control tests carried out at the beginning of the week have all been negative: the match will take place.

This meeting, which for years has been one of the most beautiful posters of French rugby, will be played in front of 10,000 spectators, to the great pride of the leaders of Montferrand.

Indeed this figure constitutes a derogation from the rule which fixes the limit to gatherings of 5,000 people, one “gauge“downright doubled by decision of Philippe Chopin, the prefect of Puy-de-Dôme.

After meeting the leaders of the ASM on August 25 at the Marcel Michelin stadium, the Prefect was able to observe, during the friendly meeting on Saturday, August 29, the effectiveness of the health protocol agreed and the care taken in its implementation. work by club officers. He also praised the vigilance and discipline of the supporters present to respect the health protocol. The Prefect decided, after consulting the ARS (Regional Health Agency), to accede to the club’s request to allow them to accommodate 10,000 spectators on Sunday, September 6.

Press release from the Puy-de-Dôme prefecture

The health security measures taken by the Clermont managers are exhaustive:

  • setting up of a first-aid station specially dedicated to supporters who may be feeling symptoms of the Coronavirus
  • employees have been recruited to ensure that the wearing of the compulsory mask is respected from the forecourt of the stadium, inside the enclosure and until the exit of the Marcel-Michelin stadium
  • it will be forbidden to eat, drink or smoke in the stands: spaces will be identified around the stadium for this
  • finally the stadium is fully signposted to allow supporters to be oriented and to follow a direction of movement.
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From an administrative point of view, this derogation is based on the fact that Puy-de-Dôme does not appear in the list of departments located in “Red zone“on the map of France – a color assigned according to the number of Covid-19 cases detected per 100,000 inhabitants and which defines the ZCAs, the”active traffic areas“virus.

The Haute-Garonne is in the red zone of active circulation of the Covid-19 on the map of France, not the Puy-de-Dôme.

The Haute-Garonne is in the red zone of active circulation of the Covid-19 on the map of France, not the Puy-de-Dôme.

© Ministry of Solidarity and Health

This is where the difference between Clermont-Ferrand and Toulouse lies: on this Thursday, September 3, Haute-Garonne is one of the 22 French departments still shown in red on the map of France.
Indeed the last digit of “incidenceCoronavirus is greater than 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, since it was 51.3 on September 1, the day of the start of the school year.
It is on this data that the health authorities rely to consider that the Covid-19 is experiencing a “circulation active“in this department, and whether the prefect decides whether or not to grant an exemption.

Moreover, the fate of the Pierre Fabre stadium in Castres is comparable: for the moment the prefect of Tarn refuses to derogate from the rule of 5,000 spectators, despite the fact of not being in ZCA, because of signs that could lead to fear of a next upsurge in contagion in the department.

19,000 everywhere

Following a consultation with the presidents of the 3 professional sports clubs in the Toulouse area – the TFC (football), the Stade Toulousain and Colomiers (rugby) – the prefect of Haute-Garonne left the door between open to a relaxation of its position:

  • it will be imperative to submit a detailed exemption request file at least 11 days before the date of the match concerned
  • the prefecture undertakes to give an answer – whether positive or negative – 7 days before the fateful date.
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In this hypothesis, the managers of the Stade Toulousain must adopt a strategic attitude of “chess players“: think several moves in advance.
Indeed the first home match of the Reds and Blacks on their lawn is scheduled for next Saturday September 12 at 3.15pm against La Rochelle: gold, the “gauge“of the stands of the Stade Ernest Wallon is a little over 19,000 spectators … Almost exactly the same as that of the Stade Marcel Michelin in Clermont-Ferrand!
We understand why the Stadists would like to benefit from the same treatment.

How many at the Stadium?

The rest of the Toulouse calendar is a quarter-final of the European Rugby Cup (Champions Cup) against the Irish from Ulster on Sunday, September 20 at 1:30 p.m., a match scheduled to be played at the Toulouse Stadium, with a capacity of 33,000 places.
The Rouge et Noir club having already pre-sold 19,000 tickets to its supporters for this meeting, its leaders must have their eyes riveted on the evolution of the figures of the health situation in the department, with the hope of getting out as soon as possible. of the ZCA statute.
This situation varies from day to day, depending on:

  • the number of screening tests performed
  • the number of positive results
  • the number of hospitalizations of Coronavirus patients
  • the number of ICU admissions
  • the number of deaths
  • without forgetting the number of patients coming out of this epidemic.

A puzzle

In these fluctuating conditions, the development each week of a request for exemption from the prefecture must be a real headache for Didier Lacroix and his staff.
Especially since, in addition to the new season of Top 14 and the final stages of the Champions Cup (which the Toulousains intend to win this year) there will also be the new edition of the European Cup, for which they are also qualified: the calendar of the Reds and Blacks promises to be exceptionally intense.
But the sporting and financial stake is enormous: to offer spectacle and pleasure to tens of thousands of supporters of the Stadium, and to ensure the economic survival of the club in the future.

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The case of the RAF

This Thursday morning Rodez Aveyron Football (RAF), which plays in Ligue 2 football, announced that it was selling tickets to refuel the Paul Lignon stadium, i.e. around 6,000 seats, on the occasion of the first home game of the season which will be played against SM Caen on Saturday 12 September at 7 p.m.

The club relies for this on the publication on August 29 of a decree, updated this Wednesday: this text relaxes the rules governing the number of spectators who can be welcomed in the stands – in seated places only – because Aveyron is not in ZCA:

  • total capacity in areas emerging from the state of health emergency, as is the case in Aveyron
  • only one seat in two – or one seat between groups of less than 10 people – in the departments located in “Red zone
  • in all cases no person standing and all the other barrier measures applied with rigor (ASM Clermont gave the best example).

This interpretation is correct, the state services have confirmed it: its application to the cases of Stade Toulousain and Castres Olympique could significantly raise the bar for these 2 clubs – provided of course that the virus circulation figures are ‘improve in the future … and the sooner the better.

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