The merger of Racing 92 and Stade Francais may begin in farcical circumstances.
On Monday afternoon, the rugby world was caught off-guard with the news that the two teams are to merge next season. Racing's coaching staff will be kept on, with players from both sides playing for contracts for next season.
Numerous players will be left without a club as a result of the merger. It's expected that around 18 players will be on the hunt for a new employer on the back of the decision.
Stade Francais players are unhappy with the move. Pascal Pape, one of the most senior players in the team announced that the team are to go on strike as a result of the move.
— Stade Français Paris (@SFParisRugby) March 13, 2017
Due to play this weekend against Castres, it looks like Stade will not fulfill the fixture as a result of the strike. If so, the team will be deducted two points, with their opponents getting five.
The merger has yet to be ratified by the French League, but if Stade intend for forfeit matches, league officials may have to intervene.
Stade have six league games left this season. If three of those are forfeited, the team are automatically relegated. The merger also changes the relegation ramifications on the Top 14.
If Stade are to be relegated, only one other team will go down to the D2. Currently, Bayonne are at the foot of the table, five points behind Grenoble.