Premiership season suspended for five weeks

Date published: March 16 2020

The 2019/20 Premiership campaign has been suspended for at least five weeks, the league’s governing body, Premiership Rugby, has confirmed.

The move, which comes in the wake of government advice to avoid mass gatherings, will cover four rounds of Premiership games and European quarter-finals scheduled for April 3-5.

A Premiership Rugby statement said: “We are sorry to tell our fans that we will be postponing our season for five weeks, in line with today’s advice of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, which confirmed that the government would no longer support mass gatherings.

“The safety of our fans and staff is our first priority, and we would like to wish all of those who are affected our heartfelt best wishes and a very speedy recovery.”

Meanwhile, the Champions Cup and Challenge Cup quarter-finals, which were due to take place from April 3-5, have been postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Making the announcement on Monday, European Professional Club Rugby confirmed the European club rugby season had been suspended.

An EPCR statement read: “The Board of European Professional Club Rugby has decided that this season’s Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup quarter-final matches will not now be played on the scheduled dates of 3/4/5 April.

“Amid growing public health concerns due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the decision was taken during a conference call today to postpone the eight matches on the weekend in question and to suspend the European club rugby season.

“While respecting all further directives by governments and local authorities, EPCR, in conjunction with the relevant leagues and unions, remains committed to trying to find a solution which will enable it to complete the 2019/20 Heineken Champions Cup and Challenge Cup tournaments at such a time as that aligns with preventative measures undertaken by an overwhelming majority of sport’s governing bodies and tournament organisers in Europe.

“EPCR’s priority is the health and welfare of players and club staff, and an update regarding the knockout stages of the tournaments will be communicated to all stakeholders as soon as practicable.”