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Premiership Rugby consider midweek matches
By Raga House | Tue 24 Mar, 2020 15:00

Premiership Rugby are considering several options in order to complete the league season, including midweek matches, according to CEO Darren Childs.

Playing games behind closed doors and staging multiple matches at single venues are also among options under discussion to see this campaign concluded.

English rugby union’s flagship domestic competition is on hold until at least April 24 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It has nine rounds of regular season action remaining, plus play-off semi-finals and a Twickenham final – and the start of next term is just six months away.

With the season suspended, several Premiership clubs recently announced player pay cuts.

Premiership Rugby chief executive Childs accepts that summer rugby is “inevitable” if the competition is to have any chance of a successful conclusion.

England are currently due to play Tests in Japan on July 4 and 11, which would impact player availability for summer Premiership games, although all tours must be rated doubtful at this stage.

Childs, who revealed that he and Premiership Rugby’s chief financial officer have taken wage cuts to show solidarity with players amid the coronavirus crisis, says “all options are on the table”.

“Our number one priority is to find a way to play, and that is what we are all working on behind the scenes,” Childs told the PA news agency.

“We want to get this season finished, and if that means playing over the summer, then we will do that, as long as it is safe to do so. We won’t take any risks about anyone’s health and welfare.

“Rugby does make an impact on medical staff and hospitals because of the nature of it, and that is an absolute priority for us to make sure we are not taking any of those resources away.

“Our aim is really clear. We are all working to try and hopefully be the first sport back on television, whether that is in a closed stadium or an open stadium.

“We are looking at all kinds of ideas – whether we do compressed weekends; whether we will play three or four rounds on one weekend from a single venue; we are looking at midweek games.

“It is inevitable that if we can restart, we are going to be playing through the summer.

“There is no plan at the current moment to delay the start of the 2020-21 season. These things might come close to each other this year, but I think it is a unique year and that maybe one of the scenarios we have to run.”

-Planet Rugby

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