SRU confirms domestic rugby season is "null and void"

The Scottish rugby union has confirmed that the already-suspended domestic season has now been declared "null and void".

SRU president said a broad consensus "as far as possible" had been reached. Picture: SRU/SNS

The SRU said it was “joining its Irish, Welsh and Italian counterparts in coming to this outcome”.

An SRU statement read: “This decision follows the earlier interim suspension and then final closure of the season based on Government advice in relation to the Covid-19 virus and is being issued today, 31 March in line with the previous objective of informing clubs by the end of the month.

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“The decision to declare the 2019/20 season null and void - meaning there will be no automatic promotion/relegation - was reached following an extensive consultation process involving the participating clubs, the Championship and Competition Committee members and Scottish Rugby’s own Rugby Development Department.”

The remainder of the Guinness Pro14 season, which had seen Edinburgh flying high at the top of their Conference B and Glasgow Warriors back in the Conference A play-off mix, had already been scrapped.

Now the domestic season, which had seen Marr RFC on the verge of an historic Tennent’s Premiership title, and Edinburgh rivals Watsonians and Heriot’s battling it out at the top of the inaugural part-time professional FOSROC Super 6 tournament, is over too.

The SRU statement continued: “Five possible scenarios were presented, with around half of clubs favouring the null and void option. 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.

“Their recommendation was supported by Scottish Rugby’s Director of Rugby Development [Sheila Begbie].”

The statement added: “The Council’s endorsement of the proposal was then ratified by the Scottish Rugby Board in its role to oversee the best interests of the game, with authority then granted to the Championship Committee to bring the recommendation into force.”

SRU president Dee Bradbury, whose two-year term ends this summer, said: “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, 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.”

Begbie added: “It was important we went through a thorough process to canvass opinion and offer a range of options for how the season could be concluded.

“I would like to thank all the clubs that contributed to this process and for their valuable input. I know the Competitions Committees and Convenors have put in a huge amount of time to ensure there was a credible outcome for every club, and while there are obviously clubs who will be disappointed, I believe this is a fair solution for everyone in these unprecedented circumstances.”

All Scottish clubs have been informed of this decision by E-zine at message from the Editor:

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