Rugby's Premiership announces further delay but intends to finish season

London (AFP) –


Rugby's English Premiership chiefs on Wednesday indefinitely suspended the 2019/20 season due to the coronavirus pandemic but said they were committed to finishing the campaign.

The last game was played on March 8. The previous plan was that the English top-flight would resume on April 24 but that is not possible with Britain in the grip of the health crisis.

Premiership Rugby organisers are liaising with the Rugby Football Union, clubs and medical staff on a number of potential scenarios.

"The intention is to play all games and complete the season as soon as it can be done safely," Premiership Rugby said in a statement.

"In the meantime, Premiership Rugby continues to give its full support to the lockdown measures and encourage everyone to stay home, protect the NHS (National Health Service) and save lives."

Chief executive Darren Childs said the effects of the coronavirus had been "heartbreaking and devastating" but he also outlined the economic challenges ahead.

"Many livelihoods are built on professional sport and Premiership Rugby is proud to be home to many of the world's greatest players," he said.

"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."

There are nine rounds of Premiership matches remaining before the scheduled semi-finals and final. Exeter lead the table by five points after 13 rounds of fixtures.

All rugby below the Premiership in England has been brought to an end.