RFU reveal their road map towards a return for community rugby
The RFU has today (Thursday) announced a national road map to support a return to community rugby activity.
This road map consists of six stages, Stage A relating to individual training with one other person, moving through to Stage F when there can be a return to competitive matches against other teams.
The road map is current at Stage B following the government's most recent announcement on May 28, which means groups of up to six can train together while maintaining social distancing, no face-to-face or close contact and equipment sharing should be kept at a minimum.
Timescales to allow progression between stages will be carefully managed and will be determined by medical and government advice.
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Regular updates will be issued by the RFU, along with detailed guidance, as each progression takes place.
RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said: "A great amount of work has been undertaken since rugby was suspended in March to align the various stages of social distancing announced by the government with our decision making focused on the best interests of players, volunteers and clubs.
"When considering the road map for a return to community rugby, we were aware that some clubs wanted to get back quicker than others as a major concern of clubs is to retain their players and preserve their revenue streams.
"We also recognise that other sports may return quicker in England and that rugby may return quicker in other countries. However, we will stay focused on what is right for rugby in England.
"Whilst we are keen to have rugby being played and members returning to their clubs, we need to be cautious and will therefore only move from one stage to another when guidance and advice says that it is safe to do so.
"There are many implications of a staged return to play, including the impact on the competitive programme, rugby activity in clubs, schools, colleges and universities and also the use of club houses and indoor facilities. We remain committed to addressing these challenges in the run up to the 2020-21 season.”
The road map focuses on a return to community rugby activity and not the reopening of clubhouses. As these are indoor spaces, they will be subject to separate government advice and guidance.
In parallel, the RFU will continue to develop advice and guidance on when and how clubhouses may reopen. The current position is that clubs are able to open indoor facilities only to allow access through the building to pitches, access to toilets and a facility (should appropriate licenses be held) for the serving of takeaway food and drinks.