The English Premiership, European Champions and Challenge Cup have become the latest tournaments to be suspended to contain the spread of coronavirus.
In a letter to fans, Premiership Rugby announced on Monday that, following the advice of England Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the season will be suspended for at least five weeks.
‘The safety of our fans, players 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.
‘We’ll continue to work closely with the DCMS and Public Health England, and to follow the advice of medical experts and work with our clubs to help them to support their own wider communities at this time.
‘We are working together with our broadcast partner BT Sport to create exclusive rugby content in the coming weeks.
‘If you are worried about coronavirus, please seek the latest official guidence from the NHS website.’
Meanwhile, the board of European Professional Club Rugby (EPCR) have followed suit and decided to postpone the quarter-finals of both the Champions and Challenge Cup, originally scheduled for 3-5 April.
‘Amid growing public health concerns due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the decision was taken during a conference call today [Monday, 16 March] to postpone the eight matches on the weekend in question and to suspend the European club rugby season,’ EPCR said in a statement.
‘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 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.‘
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