By Tadhg Peavoy – Twitter @TPeavoy
A French rugby ban on announcing signings until April seems the likely reason for uncertainty over whether Jonathan Sexton’s Racing Métro deal has gone through.
The IRFU announced on Friday that the Leinster and Ireland out-half would not be renewing his contract, and that he would be playing his rugby outside Ireland next season.
However, sources close to Racing Métro’s president, billionaire Jorge Lorenzetti, have said that the club now feel Sexton is “too expensive” and that they may withdraw from the deal.
The sources also state that Clermont Auvergne are another French club interested in signing the St Mary’s clubman.
French transfer window likely reason for confusion
It would appear that the likely reason for this seeming u-turn by Racing relates to French rugby’s April transfer window.
Up until the transfer window, which opens on 21 April, French clubs are not allowed to make details of possible transfers public.
If they do, they are subject to a financial penalty from the Ligue National de Rugby.
It seems likely that Lorenzetti is trying to distance himself from the signing in order to avoid such a sanction.
Sexton keen to stay at Leinster
It has also been suggested that Sexton initially desired to stay based in Ireland with Leinster; however, the IRFU delayed on offering a contract matching Ireland’s highest-earning player Jamie Heaslip’s wages, which prompted Sexton to consider Racing’s offer.
Until either Racing announce the deal officially in April, or Sexton’s camp releases an official statement, it would appear the transfer is set to remain unconfirmed.