Both the Irish government and the IRFU appear reluctant to make the final call when it comes to cancelling the Ireland Italy game in Dublin which is under threat amid fears over the spread of coronavirus.
Last night Irish Minister for Health Simon Harris gave an interview with the national broadcaster that has in effect kiboshed the fixture on March 7th, saying it would pose a significant risk because of the number of fans that would be travelling from Italy.
There have been at least 11 deaths in Northern Italy as a result of the respiratory virus.
“We’ve taken a decision in relation to the Ireland-Italy rugby game which was due to be held in Dublin on 7 March,” the minister told RTÉ News.
“The very clear view of the Public Health Emergency team is that this game should not go ahead, that it would constitute a significant risk because a very large number of people would be travelling from what is now an affected region.
In response the IRFU said they ‘urgently’ seeking a meeting with the minister regarding as to the ‘specific reasoning behind calling for the cancellation’.
This afternoon (Wednesday) both sides are trying to suggest the other needs to make the call.
According to RTE IRFU CEO Phillip Browne said the union “would be more than happy” to cancel the match if it receives a clear directive from the Irish Government on the matter.
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) February 25, 2020
“It is somewhat unfair to be asking the IRFU to make decisions like this and ultimately we will comply with whatever directive we’re given.”
However, to complicate matters Minister Harris said it is ultimately the call of the IRFU.
The news comes after a multitude of sporting matches in Asia and Europe have been interfered with as a result of the spread of coronavirus.
The Japan Rugby Football Union said Wednesday it will postpone a total of 16 games across two rounds of the 2020 Top League season due to the growing alarm over the spiralling coronavirus crisis.
Additionally, Global Rapid Rugby have relocated matches in China to New Zealand and possibly Australia, concerns have been raised about Six Nations clashes involving Italy and World Sevens Series in Singapore and Hong Kong will be now held in October rather than April.
As it stands, 850 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed in Japan which has led to four deaths, prompting serious concerns for given Tokyo will host the Olympic Games later this year.
Across the globe, there are more than 80,000 confirmed cases with 2600 confirmed dead.
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