Rugby Africa Plans To Implement A Return-to-play Strategy


By Chinedu Nwosu

While Rugby Africa’s activities and competitions remain suspended until further notice, Rugby Africa Executive Committee has tasked the Rugby Committee to continue the consultation with the unions as they monitor the easing or continuation of lock down measures over the continent. Alternatives and more detailed options will then be reviewed on  May 28, 2020.

Rugby Africa Executive Committee held an online meeting on Thursday April 23, 2020. Following a review of the lock down measures including closing of land borders and suspension of international flights happening in most of the countries throughout Africa and in light of prohibited sports events everywhere, Rugby Africa has focused discussions on the process to consider the restart of competitions when appropriate.

Rugby Africa President Khaled Babbou explained: “The continuous contact and information exchange with the members unions and regions as well as World Rugby has been constructive. Although the full program of competitions will not be delivered as planned before the end of the year 2020, we are considering several approaches including a return-to-play strategy and the support of regional initiatives for cross-border matches and tournaments if the delivery of continental competitions is impossible”.

As set out by the authorities, Rugby Africa is committed to support the fight against the covid19. The safety and welfare of everyone is at the heart of its concerns. Therefore, criteria for the return-to-play strategy include the below:

  • Covid-19 pandemic under control by way of treatments, vaccines, rapid testing kits widely available, temperature control, track and trace systems
  • Statutory regulations from participating countries permitting international travel, return to play of teams, manageable quarantine requirements if applicable
  • Airline traffic back to normal and impact on number of flights and price tickets
  • Training and conditioning time of teams before taking part in any international events and restart of domestic leagues
  • Hosting capacity and safety in participating unions, possibility to host matches with no crowds, possibility to sanitise infrastructure

The Rugby Africa President encourages and prioritizes the health and well-being of all the players, partners and fans across the continent. “This journey pushes us to explore new ways to deliver sports values in a safe environment. Through that lens, we will continue to make decisions with vigilance and courage. Rugby Africa will work closely with World Rugby on its global return-to-play model in consultation with members unions and regions and to ensure a bespoke and relevant strategy for Africa whilst aligned with directives and guidelines from the mother body”, concluded Khaled Babbou.

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