Dear All,

 

Following Government’s national lockdown announcement to counter the steep rise in Covid-19 infections, all community rugby activity in England is suspended until further notice.

In line with current Government policy, all adult and age grade rugby training and fixtures must stop. This means we return to Stage A on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap for all players. Outdoor organised sport for disabled people is allowed to continue.

Community rugby includes all levels below the Greene King IPA Championship (scheduled to restart in March) and the Allianz Premier 15s and Gallagher Premiership, which follow elite sport return protocols.

Click here for a summary of what is and isn’t allowed during the national lockdown. The new restrictions become law on Wednesday 6 January, but people should follow them as of now.

There is an exemption in place that allows elite sportspeople (and their coaches if necessary, or parents/guardians if they are under 18) - or those on an official elite sports pathway - to compete and train.

Indoor gyms and sports facilities will remain closed. Outdoor sports venues, including rugby clubs, outdoor gyms, tennis courts, golf courses, swimming pools, archery/driving/shooting arenas and riding arenas must close.

What exercise can I do?

People can only leave their home to exercise, and not for the purpose of recreation or leisure.

You can continue to exercise alone, with one other person from outside your household, or with your household or support bubble.

This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.

You should maintain social distancing while exercising.

Organised outdoor sport for disabled people is allowed to continue.

You can exercise in a public outdoor place including:

● parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, forests
● public gardens (whether or not you pay to enter them)
● the grounds of a heritage site
● playgrounds

While this is not the way we hoped to start 2021, we all need to play our part and strictly adhere to Government guidance over the next few weeks. This will help to protect our communities and to enable the vaccine to be as effective as possible, so we can all begin to return to a more normal way of life, including rugby, in the coming months.

We would like to thank you all once again for your commitment and resilience in the face of adversity. We appreciate the support you have provided for your rugby communities and thank you for your understanding during the toughest of times, for the sport and society as a whole.

If you have any queries, please visit our Coronavirus advice & support page or contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Kind Regards,

 

George Richardson

Training and Promotions Officer

The RFU Council has today made the difficult decision to cancel the Adult Competitive Leagues (Level 3 and below for Men, Level 2 and below for Women) for the 2020/21 season. We believe that, even if a return to full contact rugby becomes possible, playing a meaningful competitive league season resulting in promotion and relegation is no longer feasible.
 
Given the Government’s additional restrictions to curb the increase in Covid-19 cases in locations across the country, and growing concerns around travelling significant distances outside immediate localities to fulfil fixtures due to increased risk of transmission, the decision has been made now so we can provide clubs with some certainty for the remainder of the season.
 
The Championship remains on course to start in January 2021, with this league subject to Government’s Elite Return to Play protocols.
 
What rugby can we play?
 
We have been in daily contact with Government about moving towards some form of contact rugby that will enable as many matches to take place as possible.
 
Steve Grainger, Rugby Development Director, said; “We are very keen to see competitive rugby being played again and have been pushing extremely hard to accelerate a return to contact rugby. However, we also need to be realistic about the prevalence of Covid-19 cases in society and, given the introduction of further regional restrictions, we are working with Government to create alternative solutions.
 
“Progress has been made following productive conversations with DCMS and the Office of the Deputy Chief Medical Officer who have shown a willingness to work with the RFU to explore other available options.”
 
Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "I know that today's decision from the RFU will be disappointing to players and fans across the country however protecting people's health is absolutely paramount. The government is continuing to work closely with the RFU on ways in which we can bring the competitive, community game back in some form ahead of a return to full contact as soon as the public health situation allows."
 
Steve Grainger added: “While many people have looked forward to contact rugby returning, we are receiving more and more feedback from clubs and players that adaptations would be acceptable. There is an increasing appetite to play an adapted format of rugby rather than having no fixtures at all.
 
“We will do everything we can to enable the rugby community to return to contact matches as soon as we can, but our priority is to keep players, coaches, referees and volunteers safe. We will provide an update to our community clubs as soon as we can. We would like to once again thank everyone for their incredible efforts in implementing the necessary changes and for their continued support in keeping formats of rugby going during this challenging season.”
 
For the current time we remain at Stage D on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap.
 

 

Coronavirus (Covid-19) update
This week’s edition of the Covid-19 Community Game Update has been delayed from Tuesday to provide up to date information on the revised coronavirus guidelines announced by the Government this week.

Most importantly, we have provided an update on the decision made today to delay the return to competitive play for the 2020/21 season until January 2021 at the earliest.

You may also want to read RFU CEO Bill Sweeney’s statement, issued on Tuesday, regarding the financial impact on the RFU and the wider game if matches at Twickenham Stadium are played behind closed doors. Read Bill Sweeney's statement.

Please visit our dedicated web portal on the England Rugby website to access coronavirus information and updates here.

Past editions of these weekly updates can be found on this part of the website. Click here if you need to find a previous edition.
 
 
RFU Headlines
Return to competitive play in 2020/21 season delayed to January 2021 earliest
Under powers delegated by Council, the RFU Governance Committee today made a difficult decision that, with the exception of Premiership, Championship and Premier 15s rugby, no organised* RFU or non-RFU Leagues including merit tables, adult or age grade competitions will be played before January 2021 at the earliest.

With the increased uncertainly caused by Government’s additional restrictions to curb the increase in Covid-19 cases across the country, the decision has been made so that we can provide clubs with some certainty over the next few months.

The rugby community can continue to organise non-contact fixtures with other clubs using Ready4Rugby and other touch rugby activity. Limited and restricted contact rugby training can also be continued.

The RFU continues to be in active dialogue with government about moving to Stage E on the Roadmap should we reach this point at any time before Christmas, competitive friendly matches could commence.

The Adult and Age Grade Competitions Groups will be making recommendations to Governance on what they can do to ensure that any competitions from January are meaningful, including whether to make changes to the structured season.

Governance also agreed that any decision to suspend promotion and relegation for the 2020/21 season would be referred to Council once the nature of the competitions is known.

Further guidance will be provided in due course to support clubs, schools, colleges and universities in playing to the relevant stage of the appropriate Roadmap stage.

Jeff Blackett, RFU President, comments: “We are very keen to see competitive rugby being played again. However, given the introduction of further restrictions to curb the increase in Covid-19 cases, we will not be able to move to Stage F on the Roadmap until a later date. This announcement gives clubs clarity over the immediate term to help them with their planning. We will continue to liaise with the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and Public Health England to accelerate a return to competitive play as soon as it is safe to do so.”

Although social gatherings of more than six people were banned in England from Monday 14 September and a number of local lockdown restrictions put in place in some areas of the country, the Government has confirmed that organised sports and activities that have been through return to play protocols can continue. With the exception of clubs impacted by local lockdown restrictions, we continue at Stage D on the Roadmap.

Clubs in areas where additional local lockdown measures have been introduced may need to limit their activities in line with any local restrictions. All are advised to consult with their local authority should they be in any doubt.

*Organised competition in this instance includes any competition organised by the RFU, its delegated competition organising committees, or any other league or cup organiser.
Return To Play