The Guinness PRO14 is set to return on Saturday, August 22, it has been confirmed today (Thursday).
That target date was agreed at the PRO14 Board meeting, based upon the information currently available from each jurisdiction in which the Guinness PRO14 is played.
And the return will see two rounds of derby matches between Edinburgh Rugby and Glasgow Warriors, before the league moves straight into semi-finals.
The two teams which finish top of their conferences will qualify for a semi-final stage in order to compete for places in the Final.
PRO14 Rugby will consider the latest information in the territories that knock-out games could take place before making a final decision on the venue(s).
A statement on the PRO14 website said: “Since announcing an indefinite suspension of match action in March, the tournament team at PRO14 Rugby has worked alongside key medical personnel at our unions and clubs as well as key stakeholders such as World Rugby to map out a return to action.
“With rigorous protocols outlined for training, game-day logistics and match play, PRO14 Rugby is confident that proposals submitted by our unions to governments across the UK, Ireland, Italy and South Africa will allow our teams get back on the pitch. Discussions around these proposals will be on-going between each union and their respective governments.”
David Jordan, Tournament Director of the Guinness PRO14, said: “Safety has been, and will continue to be, the highest priority as we look to activate our plans to restart the 2019/20 season. We are very fortunate to be in a position where everyone involved is confident that we can conclude the season on the field of play.
“The work and diligence of our leading medical personnel at our unions, our clubs, World Rugby and key stakeholders to get us to this point has been immense. Operating across five territories often brings different complexities to the Guinness PRO14 but our unions have worked hard to bring proposals to their governments so we may put plans into action.”
Proposed Game Rounds
Round 14: Saturday, August 22
Round 15: Saturday, August 29
Semi-Finals: Saturday, September 5
Final: Saturday, September 12
Venues, timings & cross-border travel
When venues across all five territories are agreed upon, consultations will begin with broadcast partners and all key stakeholders around suitable kick-off times.
The respective unions involved in the Guinness PRO14 are in continued discussion with their relative authorities and governments regarding travel protocols and protective measures.
Health and safety protocols
An overview of all the health and safety protocols and protective measures that will be put in place to prevent and mitigate the threat of COVID-19 will be published in due course. .
European Qualification & 2020/21 Season
PRO14 Rugby has agreed that rankings for European qualification for the 2020/21 season will be decided on the Conference table positions from Round 13.
This will include the points awarded to teams whose postponed games in Round 13 have been deemed 0-0 draws.
Once the competition formats for the 2020/21 season have been announced by EPCR then PRO14 Rugby will confirm its qualifying teams for the Heineken Champions Cup.
The 2020/21 Guinness PRO14 Season
Planning for the 2020/21 Guinness PRO14 season has begun, October 3 has been identified as the provisional date for Round 1