Scottish Rugby cancels domestic season due to coronavirus
Last Updated: 31/03/20 7:34pm
The 2019/20 domestic rugby season in Scotland has been declared null and void, Scottish Rugby has confirmed.
The move sees Scotland align themselves with Ireland, Wales and Italy in cancelling their seasons completely and becomes the latest directly linked to the coronavirus pandemic.
It follows a consultation process with member clubs on deciding the best way to end the season, amid a worsening public health crisis in the country.
"Five possible scenarios were presented, with around half of clubs favouring the null and void option," a Scottish Rugby statement said.
"The remaining clubs were split between the other four options. The second most favoured option - finishing the season based on the league positions at the time of shutdown - received the support of around a quarter of clubs.
"Further to the club consultation, the declaration of a null and void season was recommended by the Convenor of the Championship Committee, the Reserve League Committee Chair and the Chair of the Women's Competition Committee."
The outcome, which rules out the possibility of promotion or relegation for the 2019/20 season, was deemed to be in the best interests of the Scottish game at an unprecedented time for all sport which has itself seen widespread postponements and cancellations.
Scottish Rugby president Dee Bradbury acknowledged the announcement will come as a blow to clubs who may now feel their achievements were in vain, but that there was no possibility of a resumption of the season.
"It was clear from the outset that, in terms of the consequential impact on the various leagues in terms of promotion/relegation there would be no "right" solution," Bradbury said, "particularly once it was clear that our preferred option of completing the season would no longer be possible.
"Every solution we looked at was likely to be problematic in some way - none was likely to be supported by everyone.
"It was therefore considered essential that the full range of options were explored, each potential option was sense checked and that, as far as possible, a broad consensus was reached across the game as to the most appropriate outcome.
"We fully accept some clubs will be disappointed with this decision and share their frustration that, for wider societal reasons beyond our control, their hard work to push for success this season hasn't yielded the rewards they deserve."
The announcement comes on the day Scotland coach Gregor Townsend, Edinburgh's Richard Cockerill and Glasgow's Dave Rennie all agreed to 25 per cent pay cuts. SRU chief executive Mark Dodson will defer 30 per cent of his wages.