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Italy scraps rugby season amid virus crisis

Italian rugby fans during the Six Nations match against Scotland on February 22 in Rome. © AFP/File / Vincenzo PINTO

MILAN, Italy, Mar 27 – Italian rugby chiefs announced Friday that they were definitely scrapping the 2019-2020 season due to the coronavirus pandemic.

All sport in Italy has been suspended since early March until April 3 as a result of the virus which has killed 8,200 people in the country.

“The governing body of Italian rugby has approved the definitive suspension of the 2019/2020 season,” the Italian rugby federation (FIR) said in a statement.

“The decision implies the non-assignment of the Italian champion titles and of all the promotion and relegation processes.

“The resumption of domestic activity for the 2020/21 season will subsequently be regulated by the Council.”

The FIR added that the decision, which involves all categories of rugby and age groups, “is unprecedented in the history of Italian rugby since the Second World War to date”.

Italian rugby’s governing body added that “extraordinary support measures will be launched” now for “all the components” of Italian rugby in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, Italian Olympic Committee (CONI) chief Giovanni Malago said he believed other sports might follow rugby.

“It’s a debatable choice, but it’s clear that they didn’t want to wait any longer,” Malago told Radio 24.

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“I’m not against the federation’s decision, but I don’t agree with the timing. They didn’t want to wait for a joint date.

“What rugby has done will happen in other sports too.”

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