The Premiership Rugby season has been postponed indefinitely due to the coronavirus outbreak, but chief executive Darren Childs has confirmed that the plan is to complete all remaining matches in the 2019/20 season - including the Premiership final - once it is safe to do so.
The Premiership is currently putting together a series of contingency plans in the event that they get the green light to restart rugby this year, with the top flight the only remaining league in the country still active after the Rugby Football Union (RFU) ended all other leagues and cups last month.
In a lengthy statement issued on Wednesday afternoon, Childs confirmed that the Premiership will not resume until the Government, Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) and Public Health England (PHE) declared it safe to hold sporting events again, but stressed that while the season will now be put on hold indefinitely it will still be completed if possible.
Once a date has been confirmed for the Premiership final, there will also be a “minimum” 2,500 tickets made available for NHS staff and essential key workers, who are currently battling the coronavirus pandemic.
The statement detailed three key decisions that have been taken by stakeholders, which were:
- Further postponing the current season, and working with the RFU, RPA (Rugby Players’ Association), clubs’ directors of rugby and medical staff to scenario-plan for a number of restart dates, with all measures put in place to ensure safety and wellbeing.
- Exploring with the RFU opportunities to reschedule the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final until later in the year, with all tickets valid for the rescheduled date; and a minimum of 2,500 new tickets to be donated to NHS and essential workers by Premiership Rugby
- Continuing its dialogue with DCMS and Public Health England to ensure it resumes play safely and promptly as soon as the government gives its approval to do so.
The statement added: “The intention is to play all games and complete the season as soon as it can be done safely. In the meantime, Premiership Rugby continues to give its full support to the lockdown measures and encourage everyone to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.”