The current Guinness PRO14 season has been suspended indefinitely in response to the evolving COVID-19 outbreak.
Explaining their rationale in a statement issued on Thursday afternoon, tournament organisers said: “The PRO14 is an international league. Cross border travel is inevitable and that brings with it unique challenges.
“It is in the best interests of everyone that games are not played at this time. The suspension has been directed by the board of Celtic Rugby DAC and will remain under constant review.
“Resumption of the 2019/20 season will now become a matter of constant review. To this point, PRO14 Rugby has ensured that it has the latest information and guidance made available by the local and national authorities via our participating unions in the UK, Ireland, Italy and South Africa.
“This will remain the case for the duration of the suspension. This is an unprecedented action for the tournament and as such, no end date to the suspension can be provided at this time.
“In keeping with our practice during the outbreak, PRO14 Rugby will provide updates on the suspension when more information is available.”
Tournament director David Jordan added: “We have made this decision with everyone’s welfare foremost in our minds.
“With an evolving situation in the five countries that take part in Guinness PRO14, it is important to make a clear decision that is in keeping with the advice of the various governments involved.”
WATCH: Gregor Townsend insists at a press conference that a Scotland player has not contracted coronavirus
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.