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Notre Dame: Toulouse rugby to raise money with commemorative shirt

Rugby players for Toulouse will wear shirts embroidered with an image of Notre Dame in their European Champions Cup semifinal against Leinster Sunday.The shirts will be auctioned off after the match to raise money for the reconstruction of the 850-year-old cathedral, large parts of which were devastated by fire Monday.The two towers of the church’s western facade were spared, but the spire collapsed and the surrounding roof, built largely of oak, was destroyed.”What happened at the start of the week has not only touched the French people: it’s touched every member of the planet who has been affected by the tragedy of this universal and unifying symbol,” said the Toulouse president Didier Lacroix.

“With the match this Sunday on the national and European stage, it seems natural that Toulouse will play its part, participating in this movement of solidarity born out of this disaster and towards the beginnings of the future reconstruction.” Donations of $700 million have already been made towards Notre Dame’s rebuild, including a $226 million donation by the family of French billionaire businessman Bernard Arnault and his LVMH luxury goods group.

President Emmanuel Macron said Monday: “We will rebuild this cathedral together. This is probably part of the French destiny.”Four-time champion Toulouse is bidding to reach its first European final since 2010 having defeated Parisian rival Racing 92 in the quarters.The French Top 14 leader faces Irish province Leinster — which lifted its fourth European title last year — in this weekend’s semifinal clash in Dublin.

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