Premiership season further delayed but intention is to complete campaign in full

By Chris JonesBBC rugby union correspondent
Exeter Chiefs v Bath
Exeter Chiefs led the Premiership by five points when the season was halted in March

Premiership Rugby is exploring the possibility of rescheduling the Twickenham final deep into the summer after further postponing the season.

The campaign was initially called off until 24 April because of coronavirus.

But despite the further delay, Premiership Rugby says it remains committed to "completing all games" in the 2019-2020 season.

"The intention is to play all games and complete the season as soon as it can be done safely," said a statement.

Chief executive Darren Childs added: "We all remain committed to finding a way to play, so long as we can do this safely, and with the welfare of players, staff and fans at the heart of every decision."

There are nine rounds of regular-season action remaining, with the Twickenham final originally planned for 20 June.

But the clubs have announced for the first time an intention to finish all games if possible and therefore rearranging the final, potentially by a number of months, with August one of the mooted options.

This would then heavily impact the 2020-21 season, which had been scheduled to start in September, but with a number of top-flight clubs in financial turmoil, the need to bring in revenue streams - mainly through television - is considered a priority.

Premiership Rugby says it is in consultation with the Rugby Football Union about rescheduling the final, and will be donating a minimum of 2,500 tickets to NHS staff and essential workers, while also continuing dialogue with the relevant health authorities over when it is safe to resume playing.

Other contingency plans include a makeshift cup competition to take place in the summer, if it is not possible to resume or complete the season, while a decision on whether England's July tour of Japan is going ahead will be made at the end of April.

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