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Premiership Rugby is proposing to return by August 15 to finish 2019-20 season

David Thomson June 5, 2020
Photo by Christopher Lee/Getty Images for Aviva

Premiership Rugby is aiming to resume the current season by Saturday August 15 after the season was suspended because of the covid -19 pandemic.

‘Important to have clarity’

The decision was made at the board meeting on Thursday night (June 4), with the restart date agreed after the announcement earlier this week that Premiership clubs can restart training.

The 2019-2020 season has been suspended since March 8 because of the coronavirus pandemic, but Premiership Rugby has said that they want to complete the season.

Premiership Chief Darren Childs said: “It is important for us to give players, coaches and clubs clarity on when they can look to return,”

“Nothing will happen until it is safe to do so, but we will do everything we can to resume the 2019-20 Gallagher Premiership Rugby campaign on Saturday, August 15.

“We won’t take risks with people’s health, and rugby has unique challenges due to levels of proximity and impact, but with a number of clubs moving to Stage 1, it is important for us to give players, coaches and clubs clarity on when they can look to return. Bearing that in mind, we look forward to the restart of the season.”

With no decision having been taken about when the matches will take place, it has been reported in the Times that this season’s Premiership final will take place in October. Premiership Rugby will announce when the structure of the rest of the 2019-20 “in due course”.

Photo by Huw Fairclough/Getty Images

The organisers of the Heineken Cup are also looking to play this season’s final in October.

‘Desperate to play’

Bath chief Tarquin McDonald welcomed the announcement by the authorities saying that it was “hugely positive” and everyone is “desperate to get back and play”.

He added: “We welcome this news, and crucially can now set timeframes in order to maximise our athletes’ readiness for a return to competition when that time comes in August.”

Each team will still have to play nine games of this season, but relegation will not be an issue because Saracens have been relegated to the Championship because they have breached the salary cap.

Exeter Chiefs are currently top of the Premiership with 45 points, five points ahead of second-placed, Sale Sharks.

Newcastle Falcons have been promoted to the English top-flight after the divisions below the Premiership finished for the season.

Several of England’s top-flight rugby clubs, including Leicester Tigers, Sale, and Gloucester, have announced a 25 per cent pay cut to help ease the financial burden during the coronavirus pandemic.   

The world rugby authority is considering moving the summer international tours to October. This season’s Six Nations campaign will need to be finished after it was suspended back in March with one round of matches left.

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