Following last week’s State Government announcement of an extension to lockdown restrictions in Victoria, it is with great disappointment that Rugby Victoria confirms the cancellation of the remainder of the 2021 season.
The difficult but necessary decision which extends to the Dewar Shield (1st, 2nd and 3rd Grade), the Lindroth Cup, Premiership Grades, Colts and all junior rugby grades was made by Rugby Victoria and Club and affiliate Presidents, yesterday evening.
It is particularly disappointing to cancel our season this year given the 2021 season has arguably been the strongest, in terms of participation and competitiveness across our top tier competitions, of the last decade.
Although Rugby Victoria considered several scenarios to play out the remaining games of the season, it has become apparent that it will not be possible in the current climate due to our key return to play dates passing with each lockdown extension enforced across the state. The current extension through September, with no guaranteed timeframe for a safe return to community sport, means there is no practical way of safely staging the remaining games of the season or the finals series.
We would like to express our gratitude towards our clubs, players, families, referees, volunteers and corporate partners for your patience, unwavering support and cooperation through what has been and continues to be an exceptionally difficult period for our community and our sport. We are proud of the commitment shown by our club and affiliate leaders to virtually meet, and work with us and each other, on a weekly basis throughout the Pandemic. It has brought us closer together as a Union and places us well for future years to come.
In the absence of competition rugby, we encourage all stakeholders within our community to follow the advice of the Victorian State Government. We have a duty of care to ensure the health, safety and wellbeing of our members, so that we can all return to rugby fields next season.
We remain committed to working closely with our affiliated clubs and associations to manage the associated ramifications of this decision. Rugby Victoria is liaising with Rugby Australia regarding the financial implications of the cancellation in terms of insurance fees and Member Union fees. We will have an update for you shortly.
If the opportunity presents itself, Rugby Victoria is committed to providing opportunities to play rugby for our community whenever possible. We are hopeful that we can facilitate different formats of our game across the summer months.
In terms of 2022, Rugby Victoria will be undertaking consultation with our community to develop an exciting season and year-round calendar of content as well as a range of new on and off-field initiatives suitable for all members of our Union.
The Rugby Victoria Board will consider 2021 season awards and an update will be provided in due course.
Whilst the 2021 season did not conclude as we had hoped, Rugby Victoria looks forward to a bigger and better year for Victorian Rugby in 2022!
Stay safe, stay strong.