Premiership Rugby’s chief executive has issued a statement about ongoing disruption to the season as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic, including an update on the current suspension of Gallagher Premiership Rugby.
Darren Childs, CEO, Premiership Rugby said:
“Following a series of constructive meetings with our clubs, investors, players’ representatives, commercial and broadcast partners, and the RFU, we have agreed on our approach to restart rugby, as soon as it is safe to do so.
“This is not an easy conversation. We are dealing with a catastrophic pandemic that is unprecedented in our lifetimes, the effects of which are heartbreaking and devastating. We also must recognise that when the pandemic is finally at an end, there will still be the economic challenge for many years to come. The markets and businesses that people rely upon are not immune to this virus.
“Many livelihoods are built on professional sport and Premiership Rugby is proud to be home to many of the world’s greatest players. But the livelihoods are not just those of talented players, there are many vital roles across the clubs, from academy teams to medics, canteen staff to groundspeople. So I’m proud of how our clubs, staff and players have pulled together to make swift and dignified decisions to preserve the sustainability of their independent businesses in order to sustain the challenges ahead.
“Premiership Rugby represents the global, in that we are privileged to have players who are successful on the world stage, and Premiership Rugby represents the local. We bring together incredible, independent regional businesses with a common set of values.
“The people in these businesses should know that we are creatively working with government and medical professionals to come back promptly, as soon as we know that it is safe to do so.
“Therefore, we all remain committed to finding a way to play, so long as we can do this safely, and with the welfare of players, staff and fans at the heart of every decision.”
To this end, Premiership Rugby is:
- Further postponing the current season and working with the RFU, RPA and the clubs’ directors of rugby and medical staff to scenario-plan for a number of restart dates, with all measures put in place to ensure safety and wellbeing;
- Exploring with the RFU opportunities to reschedule the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final until later in the year, with all tickets valid for the rescheduled date; and a minimum of 2,500 new tickets to be donated to NHS and essential workers by Premiership Rugby;
- Continuing its dialogue with DCMS and Public Health England to ensure it resumes play safely and promptly as soon as the government gives its approval to do so.
The intention is to play all games and complete the season as soon as it can be done safely. In the meantime, Premiership Rugby continues to give its full support to the lockdown measures and encourage everyone to stay home, protect the NHS and save lives.
Supporting our communities
Premiership Rugby clubs have been busy supporting their communities in recent weeks.
To highlight some examples of how they have been making an impact:
Bath Rugby have launched an educational online Kids’ Zone dedicated to helping parents keep kids entertained on lockdown
Bristol Bears have led community projects in the city including helping Shave Donate Nominate, and running NHS and Bristol City Council ‘stay home’ videos
Exeter Chiefs have given £100,000 to Exeter Community Wellbeing a new support service which has been launched in the city
Gloucester Rugby are offering support for local businesses and supporting firework displays in eyeline of the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital for their staff
Harlequins supporters are following workouts designed by the Club’s athletes and coaches on social media, and embracing the practice of mindfulness with the team's in-house specialist
Leicester Tigers are offering free parking to NHS staff in the stadium’s car park
London Irish with partner Powerday are delivering more than 100,000 meals to NHS hospitals, with a minimum of 500 meals every day being prepared at the club’s training base
Northampton Saints medical staff have volunteered with the NHS
Sale Sharks have provided free home learning resources for primary school children, free remote physical activity plans for care homes, and safe delivery of essential groceries
Saracens have launched Lockdown Letters which has seen players and staff write to people in Feltham Young Offenders, and HMP The Mount as part of their Get Onside campaign
Worcester Warriors players have been running deliveries for housebound fans. The Foundation team have been keeping in contact with those who would normally attend the weekly Tackling Dementia Sports Cafes at Sixways and in Kidderminster to provide social engagement.
The Premiership Rugby league-wide campaign, #MakeThatCall, devised by Wasps, has connected players and fans from across almost all clubs with those who are isolated by the crisis, or working on the frontline for our essential services including the NHS.
Darren Childs, CEO, said: “Especially as we go into the long Easter weekend, I would urge everyone to take part in the #MakeThatCall campaign and to call someone to whom you can make a difference".