Coronavirus: Japan's Top League 2020 latest to be cancelled
England due to play two Tests in Japan this summer
Last Updated: 23/03/20 10:35am
Japan's Top League 2020 has become the latest domestic tournament to be cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
England are due to play two Tests in Japan this July and while a decision is yet to be made on whether they will go ahead as planned, their hosts have decided they have no option but to cut short the Top League for this year.
"Given the current status of Novel Coronavirus (COVID019) and expanding infections, the Japan Rugby Top League (JRTL) has decided to cancel all matches of Round 11 and after in the 2020 season as well as this year's tournament itself," the Japan RFU said in a statement.
JRTL has reached the decision from the following three viewpoints;
1. To secure the health and safety of spectators, players and staffs.
2. Following the rapid global spread of the virus, the governments of many various countries including New Zealand and Australia have advised their citizens in overseas to return to their home countries immediately, which mean that many of foreign players in the Top League will return to their homes.
3. All the top league clubs are participating and operating in the league as company sport clubs and it would cause a significant adverse impact on the companies, if any players and/or team staffs are infected.
Japan Rugby Top League Chairman, Osamu Ota, said: "It was a tough decision to make but, given the global infection risk of the coronavirus, we have decided to cancel all matches of Japan Rugby Top League 2020 as all fans and players are our highest priority and the safety and security of the clubs and related parties must be secured.
"While we are very sorry for all fans, players and officials who have been looking forward to the resumption of the league, we appreciate your kind understanding.
"We sincerely hope that the current coronavirus spread situation gets under control soon and will look for an appropriate way of the new tournament toward the Japanese Rugby Championship in May with considering the social circumstances.
"We very much appreciate for your continued support to the Japan Rugby Top League."