Sale Sharks will have to wait longer for the resumption of their season after Premiership Rugby announced that they have postponed their season indefinitely due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The season was initially suspended until 24 April but with the current restrictions in place across the country, it gave organisers no choice but to further delay the restart.
In a statement, Premiership Rugby said that it intends to complete the season and are currently working with the Rugby Football Union, the Rugby Players’ Association, clubs’ Directors of Rugby and medical staff to scenario-plan a number of potential restart dates, with measures in place to ensure safety and wellbeing.
They are also exploring with the RFU opportunities to reschedule the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Final until later in the year, with all tickets valid for the rescheduled date; and a minimum of 2,500 new tickets to be donated to NHS and essential workers by Premiership Rugby.
Darren Childs, Premiership Rugby CEO said: “Following a series of constructive meetings with our clubs, investors, players’ representatives, commercial and broadcast partners, and the RFU, we have agreed on our approach to restart rugby, as soon as it is safe to do so.
“This is not an easy conversation. We are dealing with a catastrophic pandemic that is unprecedented in our lifetimes, the effects of which are heartbreaking and devastating. We also must recognise that when the pandemic is finally at an end; there will still be the economic challenge for many years to come. The markets and businesses that people rely upon are not immune to this virus.
“Many livelihoods are built on professional sport and Premiership Rugby is proud to be home to many of the world’s greatest players. But the livelihoods are not just those of talented players, there are many vital roles across the clubs: from academy teams to medics, canteen staff to groundspeople. So, I’m proud of how our clubs, staff and players have pulled together to make swift and dignified decisions to preserve the sustainability of their independent businesses in order to sustain the challenges ahead.
“Premiership Rugby represents the global, in that we are privileged to have players who are successful on the world stage; and Premiership Rugby represents the local. We bring together incredible, independent regional businesses with a common set of values.
“The people in these businesses should know that we are creatively working with government and medical professionals to come back promptly, as soon as we know that it is safe to do so.
“Therefore, we all remain committed to finding a way to play, so long as we can do this safely, and with the welfare of players, staff and fans at the heart of every decision.”
If and when the season gets underway again, Sale will be looking to finish in the play-offs with a first Premiership title since 2006 in sight. In the meantime, members of the club will continue to provide free home learning resources for primary school children, free remote physical activity plans for care homes as well as delivering essential groceries to the local community.
Image credit: Premiership Rugby