World Rugby, national unions, international competitions and players are unified in their commitment to safeguarding the health of the rugby community and the public, combatting the spread of COVID-19 and collaborating to mitigate the impact of the unprecedented challenge on rugby and society as a whole.
A productive joint virtual meeting of the International Federation’s Executive Committee and Professional Game Committee on Monday night resulted in universal backing of a proposed process to mitigate the consequences of the ongoing pandemic. This includes detailed financial risk assessment and modelling and examining opportunities to optimise the rugby calendar and its value for all across the international and club environments when it is safe and appropriate to resume rugby activities.
World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “These are very difficult and entirely unprecedented times for society and sport. Our primary and immediate responsibility is to ensure the health and wellbeing of the global rugby community and to collectively support those in need.
“Solidarity is one of the foundations of rugby’s character-building values, and there has never been a time when our sense of solidarity, respect and friendship has been more important. At this crucial moment it was reassuring to see all parties unified through shared purpose in this initial exploratory discussion.
“The latest projections are that the impact of COVID-19 on public and sporting activities could extend for many more weeks, maybe months, and this productive meeting was an important and unified step towards tackling a global problem together in the best interests of all stakeholders.
“We are intensively examining scenario planning for the scheduled July internationals, should such a plan be required, while also considering ways to optimise the international competition calendar on and off the field for all when it is safe and appropriate to resume rugby activities. This important work will be undertaken by the World Rugby executive under guidance from the Executive Committee and we will work in full partnership with key stakeholders to explore potential appropriate actions.
“I am encouraged by the nature of these initial discussions and would like to thank all involved for their commitment to the global cause. Only by working in full partnership with our unions, the professional leagues and International Rugby Players, will we be able to deliver a solution that will reduce the impact of this extraordinary challenge on our sport.
“In the meantime, I encourage everyone to stay safe and heed public health advice.”
World Rugby will be convening similar discussions with its regions and unions outside of the 6 Nations and The Rugby Championship competitions.