The Scottish domestic rugby season for 2020/21 has been scrapped.
Scottish Rugby Union union chiefs have made the call as “the prevalence of Covid-19 in Scotland has continued to remain high, and now 20 local authority areas – impacting four million people – are living under level three or level four of the Scottish Government’s five-tier system”.
The club and school game restart had previously been delayed until January.
Bosses said full contact training and friendlies cannot take in current circumstances, while regulations around travel would also prevent players getting ready for the new campaign “fully and safely”.
Scottish Rugby President, Ian Barr said: “After much careful ongoing consideration by the Scottish Rugby Council, who received a detailed briefing by colleagues in Rugby Development and updates from Scottish Rugby’s Threat Management Group, on the impact of current government restrictions, we took the difficult decision as a Council to recommend closing the 2020/21 domestic season, which the Board then fully supported.
“We know many clubs and schools were looking forward to resuming competitive matches in the new year, but Covid-19 remains an active threat and we must act responsibly, putting the safety of our players, volunteers and their local communities first.
“We understand the decision will be disappointing, however, it is important that we make the right choices to contribute to helping lower the infection rates and support public health guidelines, which can hopefully enable us to return to rugby fully at the right time.”
All rugby below Super Six level is affected.
The SRU announcement added: “Despite the cancellation of the revised competitive league programme, Scottish Rugby aims to facilitate local friendly fixtures in the months ahead at a time when it is safe to do so.”