World Rugby has confirmed the men’s Sevens Series tournaments in London and Paris will be postponed, provisionally until September.
With further steps being taken in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the women’s World Rugby Sevens Series tournament in Langford has also been postponed until later in the year along with the final men’s World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series event.
Some Rugby World Cup 2021 and 2023 qualifying events have also been postponed.
Meanwhile, the Olympic Games Repechage qualification tournament scheduled for June is under review and World Rugby continues to be in close consultation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the implications for the qualification process in the event that the Repechage is unable to be hosted due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
These latest decisions have been taken in consultation with the respective unions and follows previously confirmed postponements of the Hong Kong and Singapore rounds of the World Rugby Sevens Series and women’s World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series event in Stellenbosch, South Africa.
They have been taken in line with the relevant government and public health authority advice.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: ‘We stand in solidarity with the global rugby family and people around the world at this exceptional and difficult time, and I will ensure we continue to do everything in our power to protect the wellbeing of the global rugby family and the wider public.
‘Taking the appropriate measures that mitigate the spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus in line with government and public health agency responses and advice is paramount. This has underpinned our decision, taken in consultation with our unions, to suspend these World Rugby tournament activities with immediate effect, including the cancellation of the World Rugby U20 Championship following conversations with our friends at the Italian federation.
‘We are also in close dialogue with the IOC relating to the conclusion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games rugby sevens qualification, specifically options to replace the final Repechage tournament, should that be required. We have two women’s and one men’s teams left to qualify and are currently considering all options to ensure a fair and credible conclusion to the qualification process.
‘Looking at a longer-term strategy, we are in continual dialogue with our unions, regions and the players’ association relating to the wider global impact on rugby activities, including financial implications, driven by government and health authority measures to combat the spread of COVID-19.
‘At this extraordinary time, we are united in our commitment to finding ways of ensuring that on-field activity can resume as soon as it is safe and possible to do so. To that end, the World Rugby Executive Committee is driving the implementation of a detailed action plan that will guide us through this challenging period as a sport unified across the international and domestic environments.’