World Rugby releases guidelines for return of rugby activities

Dublin [Ireland], May 6 (ANI): The World Rugby on Wednesday published guidelines for the safe return to rugby activities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Developed by medical experts following consultation with union chief medical officers, competition owners and players, the guidelines are intended to assist unions, clubs and competitions in creating a framework and policy for return to rugby activity within their respective jurisdictions.

Unions and competition owners will need to comply with local laws and policies implemented by the government or local authorities in relation to COVID-19, including social distancing and travel measures.

"For the avoidance of doubt, this does not mean that matches will have to be played behind closed doors until a vaccine is available - the strategy will be determined by the respective national government directives, the World Rugby said in a statement.

The guidelines have two core sections containing important information.

The first section provides safety information to everyone involved in the game including players, coaches, support and administrative staff.

The second section provides a framework around which national unions can prepare best-practice policies and guidelines for return to activity that are appropriate to their local setting, complying with national guidelines on social distancing and travel restrictions.

The guidelines, which are World Health Organisation (WHO) compliant, outline three dedicated time-bound return-to-training phases - small group training, full group non-contact training and full contact training.

It also documents the environment for returning to match action in a domestic, cross-border and cross-continent context and processes for facility and stadium preparation.

World Rugby Chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: "We are all missing the sport that we know and love, and while it is difficult not to be playing or training, advice by the respective governments and authorities must be adhered to."

"World Rugby, in full partnership with unions and players, has been busy behind the scenes ensuring that everything is in place for a safe and speedy return to the sport when it is appropriate to do so," he added. (ANI)