World Rugby has confirmed in its return-to-play guidelines that matches do not have to be played behind closed doors until a vaccine to the Covid-19 pandemic is freely available.
The guidelines – available on World Rugby’s player welfare website – were compiled by a group of medical experts led by former Ireland and British & Lions team doctor Éanna Falvey, who is now World Rugby’s chief medical officer.
It had been reported earlier this week that rugby could be played in empty stadiums for the next 18 months – the earliest predicted timeline for a vaccine to be freely available. However, World Rugby stressed that this is not the case as the return-to-play strategy will differ from country to country and will be determined by the respective country’s national government directives.
South Africa has been in lockdown level 4 since Friday, 1 May, with interprovincial travel still banned. Current government regulations only allow for sporting activity to resume once the lockdown is lowered to level 1.
SA Rugby has, however, expressed confidence that it will be able to get government permission to begin a local tournament behind closed doors before that stage.
The guidelines, which are World Health Organisation (WHO) compliant, outline three dedicated time-bound return-to-training phases – small group training, full-group non-contact training and full-contact training.
Minimum number of stakeholders required to deliver a match: 167
- Home team players 15
- Visiting team players 15
- Home team substitutes and bench support 11
- Visiting team substitutes and bench support 11
- Home team travelling reserves 3
- Visiting team travelling reserves 3
- Home team roving doctor 1
- Visiting team roving doctor 1
- Home team roving physiotherapist 1
- Visiting team roving physiotherapist 1
- Home team Technical box (water carriers) 2
- Visiting team technical box (water carriers) 2
- Home team coaches box 5
- Visiting team coaches box 5
- Match-day doctor 1
- Immediate care lead 1
- Medical room video viewer 1
- Paramedics 6
- Other medical specialists 2
- Medical room video operator 1
- Security guards 4
- Referee 1
- Assistant referee 2
- Sideline referees, time-keeper, statistics and communications 7
- Television match official 1
- Citing commissioner 1
- Ball team and ball team supervisor 7
- Match manager 1
- Match director 1
- Administration 10
- Broadcaster pitch-side crew (cameramen, line runners and floor manager) 20
- Commentators 6
- Outside broadcasting van 15
- Stadium operations 8
- Big screen and PA announcer 2