All sports fans are going to be left without anything to watch on the TV for weeks, potentially months. It’s inevitable.
The coronavirus outbreak is shutting down the world quicker than anything ever seen before. It’s unprecedented.
Action in the world of sport is going to be put on hold despite its potential to create unfair outcomes. It’s unique.
Premiership Rugby find themselves bang in the middle of the season with hardly any room at the back-end due to player contracts. It was supposed to be the longest season ever, lasting until late June. Now we don’t know when it’ll finish.
Premiership Rugby will meet today [Monday 16th March] to discuss plans. Reports suggest they will put the league season on hold for at least four weeks which will only cover two-three rounds of action.
Providing the four weeks are enough and it’s deemed safe again, the league will be able to recover to produce a full 2019/20 season.
They could either scrap the playoffs and give the title to the team who finish top of the table. Or push the final back a week (leaving enough room for player contracts) and squeeze the final round fixture into a midweek, or during a European weekend.
A longer suspension
In all likelihood, Premiership Rugby will need to put the season on hold for a lot longer than four weeks. Potentially 10 weeks.
This will lock the table down until late May. Impossible to play the rest of the season before player contracts end on July 1st.
In this case, Premiership Rugby should void rounds 12 and 13, taking the table back to 11 games played. The stage at which every team has played everyone once.
If the coronavirus outbreak has slowed down by this time, Premiership Rugby leave themselves with the option of playing the playoffs in their scheduled slots. Or they could give the trophy to Exeter Chiefs, who were at the top of the table at the half-way mark.
Follow our liveblog here to see how this story develops.
Whatever happens, all stakeholders in rugby need to be accepting of the situation. But will all teams be able to survive this period without matchday income?
All clubs except Exeter Chiefs are making loses in the Gallagher Premiership. Some of those are rather eye-watering, with Wasps reporting a near £5million loss in a six month period.
Coronavirus or not, it isn’t sustainable. With the potential of ticket refunds, no matchday income and contract payments to fulfil, it’s scary times for all clubs within the Premiership.
Should the Premiership feel the need to suspend the league for over 10 weeks, a contingency plan will be required to avoid any sort of financial disaster.
Has it happens, the deal with CVC might prove to be more crucial than first thought.