The current Guinness PRO14 season has been suspended in response to the evolving COVID-19 outbreak, the organisers announced on Thursday.
“The PRO14 is an international league. Cross border travel is inevitable and that brings with it unique challenges. With governments in Italy and Ireland already putting in place clear directives and restrictions around public activities and travel, the decision to suspend the competition is appropriate,” said a statement following a board meeting of Celtic Rugby DAC.
“It is in the best interests of everyone that games are not played at this time. The suspension has been directed by the board of Celtic Rugby DAC and will be remain under constant review.”
David Jordan, Tournament Director PRO14 Rugby, said: “We have made this decision with everyone’s welfare foremost in our minds. With an evolving situation in the five countries that take part in Guinness PRO14 it is important to make a clear decision that is in keeping with the advice of the various governments involved.”
Resumption of the 2019/20 season would remain a matter of constant review.
“This will remain the case for the duration of the suspension,” said the statement. “This is an unprecedented action for the tournament and as such no end date to the suspension can be provided at this time.”
South Africa has two competitors in the tournament – the Toyota Cheetahs and Southern Kings – who will cease competitive action until the suspension is lifted.