Vancouver, BC – March 26, 2020: BC Rugby announced yesterday that the 2019-20 Club Season is cancelled. This decision was made in light of numerous factors, including federal and provincial government announcements that social distancing measures will be remaining in place for some time and the Vancouver Parks Board’s decision to keep all outdoor recreational facilities closed until May 30th at the earliest.
This decision applies to senior, age-grade, and mini rugby competitions and jamborees that were scheduled for this spring, but a decision has not yet been made with regards to the BC summer season, which includes club, regional and representative competitions and programs.
The Competitions Committee will be determining final standings for the various senior club leagues, including the Men’s and Women’s Premier Leagues, as per the Rules of Competition at an April 6 meeting.
BC Rugby is continuing to evaluate the possibility and viability of running competitions and programs usually planned to take place during the summer. This includes the Interior Senior Club league, Provincial Regional Championships (PRCs) and the various senior and age-grade representative 15s teams. As and when BC Rugby is able to make well-informed decisions on the possibility and viability of these taking place, we will immediately communicate those decisions. Please note that player welfare and the safety of the entire BC and Canadian community will be the absolute priority in all decision-making.
In addition, the BC Summer Games announced that the 2020 event has been cancelled. The City of Maple Ridge was scheduled to host this year’s event, and has instead been awarded the 2024 edition of the tournament. Prince George will host the event in 2022. BC Summer games President and CEO Alison Noble said “It is very unfortunate for athletes and coaches across the province who will not have a BC Games experience this summer, but this is bigger than all of us.”
The International Olympic Committee has announced that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games will be postponed to 2021. This news comes after the Canadian Olympic Committee announced it would not attend the Games if they went ahead in 2020 as scheduled. While a date for the Summer Games hasn’t yet been announced, they will be held beyond 2020 but no later than summer 2021.
The COC and CPC issued a statement thanking IOC President Thomas Bach, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee for the decision, showing their commitment to safeguarding the health and safety of athletes and the world community.
The decision impacts a number of high profile BC players who have been preparing for Tokyo 2020, including Harry Jones and Nathan Hirayama, co-captains of the Canadian men’s team that is fresh off a bronze medal at the HSBC Canada Sevens in Vancouver, and 2016 Olympic bronze medallist Kayla Moleschi of Williams Lake.
Jones was heartbroken but understanding when he learned of the COC’s decision not to attend the games unless they were postponed, and mentioned that “most Canadian athletes probably breathed a sigh of relief” to The Province’s Patrick Johnston when news broke of the postponement to 2021.
“It makes sense given where everything is at and it allows athletes to concentrate on staying healthy first and foremost,” said Jones.
For additional information on how BC Rugby is responding to the coronavirus pandemic, please consult the BC Rugby COVID-19 FAQ page, which will be continually updated with information and resources.