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All rugby and hockey advised to stop in response to latest UK coronavirus government advice




The governing bodies of both rugby and hockey have now reacted to the latest government advice on the coronavirus pandemic by instructing their national and local leagues to suspend their activities.

In the local rugby scene, the RFU's directive means Bury St Edmunds' home game with Taunton Titans on Saturday, which came after a weekend off due to the scheduled Six Nations' deciders, is now off.

But the London & Southeast Leagues involved Sudbury, Diss and Stowmarket will also be suspended.

RUGBY - Bury St Edmunds v Redruth..Pictured: Alfie Gardside chases a loose ball, but fails to connect.....PICTURE: Mecha Morton .... (28179926)
RUGBY - Bury St Edmunds v Redruth..Pictured: Alfie Gardside chases a loose ball, but fails to connect.....PICTURE: Mecha Morton .... (28179926)

The directive reaches down to the Eastern Counties Rugby League where the likes of Newmarket, Thurston, Thetford, Hadleigh and Haverhill all play.

The RFU statement this evening said: "Following government advice, the RFU will suspend all rugby activity in England, at both professional and community level.

"Rugby activity includes club training, league and cup matches plus rugby education courses from 17 March until 14 April subject to continued review.

Weybread, Suffolk, 14/03/2020..Hockey action from Harleston Magpies Ladies I v Reading...Lizzie Clymer..Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography. (31585265)
Weybread, Suffolk, 14/03/2020..Hockey action from Harleston Magpies Ladies I v Reading...Lizzie Clymer..Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography. (31585265)

"The decision has been taken following government advice in the interests of players, coaches, referees, volunteers, supporters and the wider rugby union community.

"Where possible, players at all levels are encouraged to maintain their own personal fitness and keep active during this time, while following government guidelines about safe distance and safe exercise environments.

"The RFU will continue to review and monitor government advice and will provide detailed updates on the impact to the season in the coming weeks."

Hockey in the area took place as normal over the weekend with the season in the East League only having one more round of games to go this weekend.

The England Hockey decision to suspend its national leagues with immediate effect this evening means Harleston Magpies' men's and ladies' first teams may not play again this season.

The East League has already responded saying it will suspend its activities in light of their governing bodies' statement.

The England Hockey statement read: "In light of the ongoing effects of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) and government advice, England Hockey has taken the decision to suspend its nationally run hockey activity.

"This includes our competition and domestic events programme, Player Pathway activity and national youth programmes until at least 15 April. We have already issued an update with regards to our AGM on 17 March.

HOCKEY: Newmarket Men's I v Ipswich II Kane Astin Picture by Mark Westley. (31649930)
HOCKEY: Newmarket Men's I v Ipswich II Kane Astin Picture by Mark Westley. (31649930)

"We would urge leagues, clubs, schools, Player Pathway centres and others who deliver hockey on a local level to support this approach.

"This decision will impact activities at differing levels and scale. We will continue to monitor the situation carefully and react as best we can during these unprecedented times.

"We'll keep everyone in the hockey family as up to date as possible and look forward to hockey returning to normal when the time is right."

HOCKEY - Bury St Edmunds Ladies I v Colchester...PICTURE: Mecha Morton .... (27669927)
HOCKEY - Bury St Edmunds Ladies I v Colchester...PICTURE: Mecha Morton .... (27669927)

The East League website contains a statement which says: "The East League, like all other sporting administration's, are mindful of coronavirus.

"As a result of the Governments latest advice all games scheduled for 21st/22nd March should be postponed with immediate effect.

"The East League Management Committee aim to meet via conference call one evening this week to try to plan the rest of the season, however with the length of time mentioned in the government announcement that people avoid clubs it maybe that the East League Management Committee declare the season over and the League tables decided on a percentage basis.

"The situation we are in is of course unpleasant and in 50 years I cannot remember a public health situation like this, so the need for common sense must prevail and the safety of everyone in the hockey family is paramount."

It follows on from a host of local football leagues calling off games at the weekend.


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