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Asia Rugby, the Regional Association of World Rugby, has made a decision to further extend the cancellation of all competitions for this year to the end of the 3rd Quarter of 2020. That includes all competitions that were scheduled to be played from July 1st to September 30th.

Asia Rugby has extended the tournament and rugby fixture ban in Asia until quarter 4 of 2020, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was made in consideration of the World Rugby guidelines player welfare and the safe return to rugby.

Asia Rugby President, Mr Qais Al Dhalai said ...

The welfare and safety of players, fans and everyone working on the events is always Asia Rugby’s highest priority. This prudent decision has been taken to help protecting Asia Rugby community and the wider public.

He further added ...

Our decision is based on the feedback from the Player Welfare and Medical Committee, who have followed the guidelines set by World Rugby on the safe return to rugby, the relevant public authorities and the prevailing local and global travel and health guidelines.

World Rugby published guidelines for the safe return to rugby it’s player welfare website at playerwelfare.worldrugby.

Original Post.

The latest decision was made on the back of the cancellation of all first and second quarter tournaments. The following tournaments have been affected:

Asia Rugby Championships

  1. Asia Rugby Championship Men: HK, South Korea and the Philippines - originally planned for May-June, 2020.
  2. Asia Rugby Men’s Division 2: Thailand, China, Pakistan, Chinese Taipei - originally planned for February 26th, 2020.
  3. 15s Rugby dates were never confirmed:
  • Men’s Division 1
  • Division 3 West
  • Division 3 Central
  • Division 3 East
  • Division 3 ES
  • Women’s Division 1 & 2
  • Asia Rugby Under 19 Championship 1 and 2

Asia Rugby Member Unions

It remains to be seen if Asia Rugby member unions will go ahead with their scheduled 2020 competitions in light of this decision. In terms of local affairs, member unions have complete autonomy and can decide to go ahead with scheduled competitions, providing they adhere to World Rugby guidelines as set forth.

This is well demonstrated with the Korea Rugby Association's decision to go ahead as planned with the country's National Spring Rugby League, scheduled for the end of June 2020.

The Korea Rugby Association is going ahead with the country

The World Rugby Landscape

In general, there is little doubt about the Covid-19 pandemic's disastrous effect on the rugby landscape at present and the foreseeable future, both regional and global.

Medical guidelines from World Rugby have suggested no large crowds until a vaccine is available, which could be up to 18 months away. This will have a severe effect on union and club revenues, as already demonstrated by USA Rugby's filing for bankruptcy. Down under, Rugby Australia faces losses of around $62K, having already laid off 75 per cent of its staff.

World Rugby has mention that the implications for all areas of rugby will be thoroughly worked through and solutions discussed and developed with the clubs and unions. The fact of the matter is that even if rugby returns in the near future, it will come too late to stop severe job losses at many unions worldwide.

Asia Rugby has yet to release information about financial losses suffered due to the cancellation of a host of regional tournaments but it has no doubt been fairly substantial.

Nevertheless, let's hope that the Asia Rugby 2020 competition cancellations will be reversed in the 4th Quarter, even if limited crowds are allowed.

SOME rugby is better than no rugby.

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