THE suspension of the 2019-20 Guinness PRO14 season is now on an indefinite basis due to the COVID-19 outbreak, and tournament organisers Celtic Rugby DAC have decided to cancel the league’s showcase Final at Cardiff City Stadium which was set to take place on June 20th. Refunds will be made automatically to all who have already purchased tickets.
Several proposals have been put forward regarding how to restart the season and these will be reviewed in the near future. Should any final be played as part of the 2019-20 season it will be hosted by the team with highest ranking based upon league records from this campaign.
Scottish domestic rugby is currently suspended up to an including the 29th March, but it appears increasingly unlikely that matches will resume at that point given official predictions about the spread of the disease.
The Irish Rugby Football Union made the call earlier today [Thursday] to conclude their domestic season with immediate effect. Cups will be shared by finalists, where cup competitions have reached the final fixture. There will be no promotion or relegation in any of the five divisions in the Energia Men’s All-Ireland League, while the planned expansion of the Eenrgia Women’s All-Ireland league for 2020-21 season remains in place.
“The decision to end the domestic rugby season for 2019-2020 season has not been made lightly,” said IRFU Director of Rugby Development Colin McEntee. “All options were discussed and the IRFU is satisfied it has arrived at the only equitable solution.
“These are challenging times for us all and we know clubs will be impacted by this directive, but we will look back at this season as one where we put the physical welfare of our rugby community above all else.
“Clubs are now in a position to make plans for the 2020-21 season. We look forward to marking the 30th anniversary of the All-Ireland League.”
The board of Celtic Rugby DAC met by teleconference earlier this week and agreed upon a strict list of criteria that would enable the competition to recommence. However, no decision on a definitive re-commencement date can be made until four key criteria can be met within our respective competing territories:
- Public Health Authorities cease to prohibit the resumption of sport and group training
- Travel restrictions between our territories are lifted
- No forced isolation or quarantine orders are in force when visiting our territories
- Player welfare is safeguarded, including requirement for a suitable pre-recommencement training period, to be established in conjunction with the high-performance personnel at our participating unions and teams
When positive indicators on the criteria listed above PRO14 Rugby will provide another update.
Full information on refunds will be available on https://www.pro14.rugby/final in the next 24 hours.