Gallagher Premiership aiming to finish season – CEO

Rugby

Gallagher Premiership organisers are determined to finish the season and could schedule multiple matches to be played behind closed doors at one venue, league chief executive Darren Childs has said.

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) announced the cancellation of the remainder of the 2019-20 domestic rugby season last week, excluding the Gallagher Premiership, due to the coronavirus pandemic. England’s top-flight is suspended until April 24 at the earliest.

“Our No. 1 priority is to find a way to play,” Childs said. “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.”

A quarter of the Gallagher Premiership’s clubs have told players they will be taking a 25% pay cut in what looks set to be a league-wide measure due to the postponement of professional rugby in the coronavirus outbreak.

“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,” Childs added.

“There is no reason why we couldn’t play four games over a weekend in a single stadium.

“To be able to concentrate things in one area, certainly if it is a closed-door game, means we can be sensible about trying to reduce the impact on the TV operations, the crews and the filming by compressing it into one venue.”

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