France coach Galthie cleared of wrongdoing in COVID-19 outbreak investigation

FILE PHOTO: Rugby Union - Six Nations Championship - Scotland v France - BT Murrayfield Stadium, Edinburgh, Britain - March 8, 2020 France head coach Fabien Galthie as he arrives outside the stadium before the match REUTERS/Russell Cheyne

PARIS (Reuters) - France head coach Fabien Galthie has been cleared of any wrongdoing by an internal investigation into the handling of a COVID-19 outbreak within the Six Nations squad, the head of the French federation's (FFR) medical committee said on Wednesday.

"In my report, I mention it at the start, it is perfectly clear that what he has done and whatever one might think, he had the right to do what he did, and there was no particular risk," committee head Roger Salamon told French radio RTL.

Galthie was one of five staff members to test positive for COVID-19 after France's second Six Nations game against Ireland, and the tournament organisers decided to postpone last weekend's match against Scotland as 12 players also tested positive.

FFR president Bernard Laporte admitted that Galthie had left the training camp's bubble to watch his son's rugby game in Paris, however insisting he was wearing a protective mask and that he had not broken any rules in the team's COVID-19 protocol.

French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu threatened to withdraw France's authorisation to play in the Six Nations if the investigation was not conducted thoroughly and FFR board of directors member Florian Grill last weekend called for an independent investigation.

A FFR spokesperson told Reuters on Wednesday that the investigation report would not be made public.

Les Bleus, who won their first two Six Nations games, travel to England on March 13.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by William Maclean)

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