IRFU confirm end of domestic club rugby season

Statement said that seasons will be concluded with no promotion or relegation

A recent clash between Tullamore and Bangor which was played in horrendous conditions. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

A recent clash between Tullamore and Bangor which was played in horrendous conditions. Photo: James Crombie/Inpho

 

As feared but expected, the IRFU have called off the current 2019-20 club season with immediate effect due to the coronavirus pandemic. As a consequence, there will be no relegation or promotion in any of the five divisions of the Energia Men’s All-Ireland League.

Instead, it is intended that all clubs will start from zero again in new 2020-21 competitions, and the blanket full stop to the current season applies all the way down to mini rugby. With no home games and no annual dinners, this is a crippling blow to the clubs.

The clubs were last night being notified to that effect in emails that explained: “Irish Rugby’s 2019/20 domestic season is to conclude with immediate effect due to ongoing concerns over coronavirus.

“Government action in combatting the virus looks set to continue beyond March 29th. Irish Rugby wants to play its part while giving clubs the chance to put plans in place for the 2020/21 season.

“The directive applies to all incomplete national and provincial competitions. It was ratified by the IRFU Rugby Committee on Thursday March 19th 2020. Cups will be shared by finalists, where cup competitions have reached the final fixture.

“There will be no promotion or relegation in any of the five divisions of the Energia Men’s All-Ireland League.

“The planned expansion of the Energia Women’s All-Ireland League for the 2020/21 season remains in place.

“There will be no league or cup winners in any competition organised at a national level including the Energia All-Ireland Leagues, Energia Women’s All-Ireland Cup and the Energia Bateman Cup.

“The Fraser McMullen U20 Cup, the Junior Interprovincial Championships and the round-robin qualifiers for the Energia All-Ireland League will not take place.”

Speaking about the announcement, IRFU Director of Rugby Development Colin McEntee said: “The decision to end the domestic rugby season for 2019/2020 season has not been made lightly. All options were discussed and the IRFU is satisfied it has arrived at the only equitable solution.

“These are challenging times for us all and we know clubs will be impacted by this directive, but we will look back at this season as one where we put the physical welfare of our rugby community above all else.

“Clubs are now in a position to make plans for the 2020/21 season. We look forward to marking the 30th anniversary of the All-Ireland League.”

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