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"Sport will not be a priority in our society" - French Sports Minister

French Minister for Sport Roxana Maracineanu says a ban on mass gatherings will remain in place in the country until September at least.

The declaration will come as a blow to organisers of the Tour de France and the French Open at Roland Garros, both of which have been postponed until later in the year.

Earlier this month, organisers of Le Tour announced a later start date of August 29.

While Roland Garros were among the first to act when coronavirus first took hold of the sporting calendar, postponing until September 20.

Maracineanu was invited onto Eurosport's Le Club on Wednesday night, warning viewers, "What is certain is that sport will not be a priority in our society.

"It is not a priority in decisions made by the government today."

France are following the lead of the Netherlands, who have outlawed mass gatherings until at least September 1.

That's had the knock-on effect of seeing this season's Eredivisie brought to an early close.

Maracineanu concedes that the situation is an evolving one, adding that things may be vastly different by May 11, adding, "Obviously a recovery in mid-June is the optimum scenario but there are others.

That of a resumption perhaps in September of the championships, even of clearing this year to be able to resume at best the next season."

Maracineanu says the mass gatherings ban could remain in place "until further notice or until we find a vaccine."

Any sports that are in a position to resume will do so, "behind closed doors or with very strict restrictions on the number of spectators present."

If events like the Tour de France or Roland Garros cannot find new dates, Maracineanu says, "it will not be the end of the world.

"It will undoubtedly be the end of many things which were supported by the revenues from these tournaments and the Tour de France.

"We will have to reinvent ourselves if a year is missed."

Behind such apparent harshness is a stark reality on sport's return from Maracineanu, "if there are not enough masks, if as today the tests remain reserved for people who have symptoms....it will not happen."

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Coronavirus Covid-19 Cycling France French Open Roland Garros Roxana Maracineanu Tennis Tour De France

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