Varsity Sports organisers have taken the decision to suspend all tournaments – including rugby – for the remainder of the year after stakeholders agreed that it is unlikely that normal sports will resume in 2020.
The decision was made after Monday’s meeting between the Varsity Sports executive committee – which consists of multi-media rights holder Advent Sport Entertainment and Media (ASEM), University Sports Company (USC) and University Sports South Africa (USSA) – and university representatives.
Varsity Cup and Shield rugby had already been put on hold from March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, which led to a lockdown in South Africa. While the country has dropped to Covid-19 alert level 4 since last Friday, sports can only fully resume once the country is on level 1.
‘It is unlikely that any normal sports tournaments will take place within the next 10 months,’ ASEM chief executive and former Springbok captain Francois Pienaar said.
‘We have therefore taken a principle decision to suspend all our sporting activities across universities until 2021. Our priority is to ensure the safety of our athletes and spectators, while also allowing universities and schools to return to the academic year. We will, however, remain ready to host certain tournaments should government regulations change regarding the hosting of sport events and academic calendars allow for tournaments to take place.’
ASEM will continue to monitor government regulations and is committed to ongoing communications to all stakeholders.
‘Our focus now is to work with our commercial partners, USSA and the USC to develop the best possible calendar for 2021 and reintroduce a fresh, new sporting landscape for youth sport,’ Pienaar added. ‘People remain our main priority and the health of our staff, the well-being and academic success of our athletes and supporters will always be placed first.’
Should the Varsity Cup and Shield not resume this year, the tournaments will be declared incomplete with no overall winner.
As NMU Madibaz had already achieved an unassailable log-points tally on the combined Varsity Shield log of 2019 and 2020, they will be promoted to the Varsity Cup. There will be no team relegated from the Varsity Cup competition and no promotion/relegation match between the Varsity Cup and Varsity Shield competitions. Therefore, there will be 10 teams in the Varsity Cup for 2021.
Photo: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images