Rugby. Lyon deprived of the top 14 semi-finals because of a Land Rover parked on the Place Bellecour?

Lyon City Hall refused to display a Land Rover on Rugby Village’s Place Bellecour as part of its bid to host the Top 14 semi-finals in 2025. (© Adobe Stock)

This is the controversy of this week’s start in Lyon. The city has not been chosen to host by the National Rugby League (LNR). the semifinals of the top 14 in 2025, with Bordeaux being preferred. The cause would be a decision by the Ecological City Hall of Lyon.

Contacted by News Lyon, The National Rugby League wanted to present their version of the facts. She assures that Bordeaux was chosen, not by mistake and only because of the city of Lyon’s refusal to display one of her partner’s 4x4s in the rugby village of Place Bellecour.

“The LNR rejects any controversy”

The Management Committee of the LNR has selected Bordeaux for the 2025 edition on the basis of a remarkable file and thanks the City of Lyon and Olympique Lyonnais for their excellent candidacy. The selection process is a process of selecting among several files, all of which have assets, and not rejecting applications that are not selected. The LNR rejects any controversy on this subject.

National Rugby League

Coming back to the controversy in question. Tuesday May 17th News Lyon transmitted information verified by us progress He explained that the joint bid by OL, the city of Lyon and Metropolis was not selected due to a conflict over the rugby village at Bellecour.

City Hall ‘ideologically’ rejects a Land Rover on display in Place Bellecour

According to our information, the LNR has alerted Mayor Grégory Doucet’s cabinet to this potential closure in advance. The League’s partner, Land Rover, was keen to put a vehicle on Place Bellecour. “You have visibility rights as a partner,” we’re told.

At that time, about four months ago, the town hall rejected this installation, but stuck to its candidacy. “They told themselves they could still win,” we are told. It is currently not about the SUV problem, but only about the car.

The cabinet director of the mayor of Lyon confirmed to the competition director of the LNR: “Ideologically, it is the place of the car in the city that bothers us. Symbolically there will be no car. »

Did the committee vote for Bordeaux because of this decision?

Was this blocking point really decisive for the steering committee’s decision between Bordeaux and Lyon? Nothing is really safe. “No decision was made before the vote between Lyon and Bordeaux. Like San Sebastian, we knew it would pass. Between Bordeaux and Lyon we didn’t know it was potentially tight,” reveals a source familiar with the matter.

She continues: “There is a steering committee vote, but I cannot tell you the weight of the controversy surrounding the Place Bellecour vehicle. This was reported as a blocking point but I can’t tell you that this vehicle made the committee vote for Bordeaux. »

Not just a question of money

Other arguments may have been decisive for Bordeaux: the guarantee of tickets being sold out within 48 hours, the majority of rugby fans within 2 hours drive … And it’s not because Lyon’s candidacy was more profitable than the best.

“So yes, the Groupama stadium is a bigger stadium than Bordeaux’s, so with better gate receipts. But we’re going to a city where we’re going to have an area partner for a 48-hour event, we’re not going to go somewhere because it’s more profitable,” we’re told.

For example, the top 14 semi-finals are in Nice this year because the city is “very involved with competitions in schools, poster campaigns… Last year we went to Lille to look for a new audience. »

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