If the Gallagher Premiership is to finish out the season, then summer rugby could be inevitable, says Premiership Rugby CEO Darren Childs.
Childs was speaking on The Rugby Pod, where he outlined the challenge the English game is facing at club level in the face of the COVID-19 epidemic that is currently sweeping the planet.
Currently, the Premiership is two weeks into a 5-week suspension, although with the UK in lockdown that suspension is set to be extended significantly. Childs expects an announcement to made on the matter in the next two and half weeks.
“Saracens was a difficult one to deal with, but that all pales into insignificance with what we are trying to deal with now, which is a massive crisis, not just for us but for all businesses around the world.
“We are working hard to try and make sense of it all and working hard to try and find a way to play, because that is the thing that is keeping us going every day: How do we find a way to play and when is it safe to do so?
“Look, it’s really hard, but keep it in perspective with what some people are going through, in terms of dealing with this virus, these are much less significant matters. What we are doing now is looking at all scenarios of how we are able to play.
“We know from conversations with the DoR and the players, they want to play; we know with conversations with the fans, they want us to get the show back on the road. It’s just not safe to do that right now, but when it is, Premiership Rugby is working hard that we are the first sport that’s back on TV.
“That means we have to look at a whole bunch of options including big weekends, multiple games stacked over weekends, mid-week games. We’ve got to look at the whole context of player welfare and making sure that is all fine.”
If this Premiership season is to restart, summer rugby will be key claims Childs.
“If we can get this game going, it’s inevitable that we are going to need to play games over the summer, and that may mean there won’t be a big gap between when we finish this season and start the next one but that’s a better outcome than not finishing this season at all.”
He also touched on player pay cuts, and admits he and his senior team have taken a pay cut themselves.
“Every club and every squad in the Premiership is united around the idea that we need to make some cuts to our cost base. I’ve done it, I’ve taken a pay cut. My senior team have taken a pay cut.”
“We’re all in this together. We all want to survive this ban on live sport and this ban getting crowds together – and survive it in the best financial state that we can.
“We doing what we can to help and making good progress in that area. There is a great deal of unity and solidarity across all the clubs.
“The great thing about rugby is the values of rugby. Everyone is doing their bit.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now