Friday 20 March 2020 11:41 am

Coronavirus: RFU ends all rugby competitions in England except for Premiership

The Rugby Football Union has today confirmed that all competitions in England except for the Gallagher Premiership will end early following the coronavirus outbreak.

The move applies to “all league, cup and county rugby in England”, while a decision on the Premiership will be taken in due course.

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In a statement, the RFU said it was holding “active discussions” with Premiership Rugby to “review possible best next steps”.

It is currently suspended until 14 April, although the suspension of all football in England was extended until the end of April at the earliest yesterday.

Exeter Chiefs are currently five points clear at the top, while Saracens relegation has been confirmed due to salary cap breaches.

But there remains a question mark over who will replace them next season, with the Championship concluding seven rounds early.

Newcastle Falcons were on course to win the league, with a 100 per cent record.

The RFU said it would issue a further update in April to “ensure fair and balanced outcomes”.

“We are working through the implications of ending the season early and have instigated a thorough process to ensure fair and balanced outcomes for the game,” said RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney.

“While we would like to provide all the answers now, we need some time to get it right for the best interests of the game. 

“Rest assured we are working on this as a priority and we will continue to send weekly updates to clubs.”

Financial implications

The RFU also said it was working through the financial implications that the coronavirus has had on the season and clubs.

Like many clubs and businesses around the country, the RFU is also facing financial difficulties in what Sweeney says, was “already budgeted to be a loss-making year.”

“The loss will now be considerably more as we face challenges similar to businesses across the entire country,” he said.

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“There may well also be much longer-term financial implications which we are assessing now. It is therefore taking us some time to develop a considered position on how we can support clubs and the rugby community, which we will do.

“The implications for all areas of rugby will be thoroughly worked through and solutions discussed and developed with the clubs.”

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