Grassroots rugby union season in North West cancelled due to Covid-19
The grassroots rugby union season in the North West has been cancelled by the Halbro North West Leagues Committee in the light of continued uncertainty about a date being set for resumption.
Despite the falling numbers in infection rates and hospitalisations and deaths, league officials agreed that the present season be written off and all eyes be fixed on a resumption of league rugby in the autumn.
More than 140 club sides from 79 clubs in Cheshire, Greater Manchester, Merseyside and Lancashire are affected, many of whom have already taken local decisions to call an end to any attempt to play competitive rugby before the 20-21 season ends in May.
Leagues chairman Fred Swarbrick said: “We are committed above all else to protecting the health of club members, players and officials, and fully support all measures that seek to stop the virus dead.
“Clearly, the restrictions in place since January are having a positive impact on reducing the spread and impact of the virus. In particular the vaccination programme is a great morale boost for us all.
“But we cannot now move to mixing on the pitch until such time as we receive the green light from the Government, through the Rugby Football Union.”
All adult and age graded rugby training stopped on January 4, with the imposition of the highest level of coronavirus restrictions.
Swarbrick added: “If clubs or sides do feel they need to play some games in the spring – as friendlies – and in line with amended rules then there would be no objection from the league.
"They would need to be set with agreement between the clubs themselves, and necessary referee cover would need to be arranged either through the society or with in house cover.
“The Halbro North West Leagues committee is now looking ahead to next season, and will take into account all the changes that are in discussion in the higher reaches of the RFU committees, and, as they will be outlined in a proposed RFU council meeting set for early April, once the outcome of this meeting has been published the Leagues Committee will meet immediately and set out our plans for 2021-2022.
The Halbro Leagues committee will send out a circular querying each club’s position, asking for confirmation of the number of sides they hope to field next season, and indeed if they will continue as members of The Halbro Leagues.
“That information will provide the basis for the structures to be set up as we approach the next season, always looking at minimum travel distances at all levels, although we hope our current structure will remain the template for resumption of competitive rugby,” said Swarbrick.
Clubs are being encouraged to keep an eye on the Leagues’ website at www.nowirul.org.uk and on the Leagues’ Facebook page for up-to-date information.
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