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Matches cancelled in France following Paris terror attacks

Published 14/11/2015

Fans took to the Stade de France pitch, where France played Germany, after the terrorist attacks in Paris
Fans took to the Stade de France pitch, where France played Germany, after the terrorist attacks in Paris

All five of this weekend's Champions Cup and Challenge Cup rugby union matches taking place in France have been postponed following the Paris terror attacks which left at least 128 people dead, European Professional Club Rugby has announced.

There had been three matches scheduled for Saturday, which were the Champions Cup fixtures between Oyonnax-Ulster and Racing 92-Glasgow Warriors, and this evening's Castres-Pau match in the Challenge Cup.

Sunday's Champions Cup matches between Bordeaux-Clermont Auvergne, and Toulon-Bath, have also been postponed to be rescheduled for a later date.

An EPCR statement read: " EPCR extends its sincerest sympathies to everyone affected by the Paris attacks and as a mark of respect, all clubs competing in this weekend's remaining Champions Cup and Challenge Cup fixtures in other territories have been asked to observe a minute's silence before the games kick-off."

France declared a national state of emergency and closed its borders after at least six attacks were reported across Paris.

Since then an increasing number of sporting events scheduled for this weekend in France have been postponed, including horse racing, athletics and figure skating meetings.

There have also been widespread messages of support for the victims of the tragedy from across the world of sport, with various governing bodies and clubs announcing plans to hold tributes this weekend.

The Football League announced that a minute's silence would be observed before all of its games in Leagues One and Two as a mark of respect, while the Football Association of Wales and the Welsh Government released a joint statement after calling off a reception to mark the team's qualification for Euro 2016.

UEFA also said that all of its matches in the Euro 2016 play-offs, Under-21 Internationals and Under-19 Futsal Cup over the coming days would see players wear black armbands and a minute's silence would be observed.

It remains to be seen whether England's friendly with France at Wembley on Tuesday will still go ahead, with the Football Association set to speak to the French Football Federation (FFF) on Saturday.

One of Friday's attacks took place near the Stade de France, where Les Bleus were playing Germany.

''It is a very serious and tragic matter,'' an FA spokesman said.

''If there is any update on the match on Tuesday we will announce in due course.

''We will liaise with the French Football Federation over the weekend.

''The FA sends its deep condolences to the victims of this tragic event.''

When asked whether the match was likely to be cancelled, FFF media officer Philippe Tournon told Press Association Sport: ''No decision has been made.''

FFF president Noel Le Graet said in a statement: ''The French Football Federation shares the emotion that shakes the nation following the tragic events of Friday in Paris and around the Stade de France.

''The FFF shares the grief of the bereaved families and relatives.''

The FFF later confirmed it had cancelled a France press conference and open training session scheduled for Saturday. The French will train behind closed doors at their Clairefontaine base instead.

The attacks raise serious concerns about fans' safety at Euro 2016, which is being held in France.

Le Graet told L'Equipe: ''For the Euro, there was already a big worry. Today it's obviously even stronger.''

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