World Rugby have announced a list of tournaments that are now officially called off in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement on Friday, the governing body said: “After detailed and constructive dialogue with the respective host and participating unions, and with the wellbeing of the global rugby family at heart, the following events have been postponed:
- The men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournaments in London and Paris will be postponed, provisionally until September;
- The women’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament in Langford has been postponed until later in the year;
- The final men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series event has been postponed until later in the year;
- Some Rugby World Cup 2021 and 2023 regional qualifying events have been postponed;
“In addition, the following event has been cancelled: The World Rugby U20 Championship 2020, scheduled to be hosted in northern Italy in late June and July, has been cancelled following detailed consultation with the Federazione Italiana Rugby.
“The Olympic Games Repechage qualification tournament scheduled for June is under review and World Rugby continues to be in close consultation with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) regarding the implications for the qualification process in the event that the repechage is unable to be hosted due to the covid-19 outbreak.
“The World Rugby Hall of Fame, located in Rugby, will be closed until the end of May in line with public health authority directives.”
World Rugby chairman Bill Beaumont added: “We stand in solidarity with the global rugby family and people around the world at this exceptional and difficult time, and I will ensure we continue to do everything in our power to protect the wellbeing of the global rugby family and the wider public.
“Taking the appropriate measures that mitigate the spread of covid-19 coronavirus in line with government and public health agency responses and advice is paramount.
“This has underpinned our decision, taken in consultation with our unions, to suspend these World Rugby tournament activities with immediate effect, including the cancellation of the World Rugby U20 Championship, following conversations with our friends at the Italian federation.
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“We are in close dialogue with the IOC relating to the conclusion of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games rugby sevens qualification, specifically options to replace the final repechage tournament, should that be required. We have two women’s and one men’s teams left to qualify and are currently considering all options to ensure a fair and credible conclusion to the qualification process.
“Looking at a longer-term strategy, we are in continual dialogue with our unions, regions and the players’ association relating to the wider global impact on rugby activities, including financial implications, driven by government and health authority measures to combat the spread of covid-19.
“At this extraordinary time, we are united in our commitment to finding ways of ensuring that on-field activity can resume as soon as it is safe and possible to do so. To that end, the World Rugby executive committee is driving the implementation of a dedicated action plan that will guide us through this challenging period as a sport unified across the international and domestic environments.”
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