Rugby Football Union ends rugby season in England except for Gallagher Premiership
RFU says it will ensure "fair and balanced outcomes" for the game and communicate these by middle of April
Last Updated: 20/03/20 2:57pm
The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has confirmed the end of the 2019/20 season for all league, cup and county rugby in England except for the Gallagher Premiership.
The decision is in response to the coronavirus pandemic with Twickenham keen to "assist with long-term planning and provide clarity to the game at a time of continuous change".
- Rugby union's bizarre 12 months
- PRO14 final cancelled, league suspended
- IRFU concludes domestic season
The RFU says it is still in talks with the Gallagher Premiership about whether they will continue their season, which has been suspended for the next five weeks.
RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said in a statement: "The Rugby Football Union is announcing the end of the 2019/20 rugby season for all league, cup and county rugby in England. The only exception to this is the Gallagher Premiership, who we are in active discussions with to review possible best next steps.
"When current government advice on social distancing measures changes, we will naturally encourage rugby training and friendlies to recommence."
The biggest ramifications will be felt by runaway Championship leaders Newcastle, who are 18 points clear at the top.
Saracens' relegation from the Premiership had already been confirmed, after receiving a combined 105-point points deduction for multiple breaches of the salary cap.
The RFU says it will ensure "fair and balanced outcomes" for the game and communicate these by the middle of April.
The Falcons said in a statement: "Newcastle Falcons have taken note of today's announcement from the RFU regarding the 2019-20 season coming to a premature close.
"Once we have clarity on the situation we will communicate further with supporters and stakeholders, with the RFU stating they hope to have an announcement by the middle of April with regards to 'fair and balanced outcomes for the game'."
Meanwhile the PRO14, which was suspended until further notice last week, has now been suspended indefinitely. The league's final, which had been scheduled to take place on June 20 at the Cardiff City Stadium, has been cancelled.
The announcements follow the lead from the Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU), who concluded the Irish season on Thursday.
The IRFU said it wanted to give clubs a chance to plan for the 2020-21 season with this current season due to finish in May.