The Midwest Rugby Football Union (MWRFU) offers its deepest sympathies to all who have been impacted by COVID-19 throughout the world. We thank our membership for your patience, understanding, and support as we navigate through these challenging times.
The health and safety of our players, coaches, referees, and supporters are paramount to everything we do. It remains our hope that state and local health officials, USA Rugby (USAR), and World Rugby grant permission, we’ll return to our pitches and play as much rugby as we can for the remainder of the 2020 year.
We recognize that elected officials are beginning to announce timelines for relaxing their strict measures taken to mitigate the coronavirus. In some areas, stay-at-home orders are being eased, while many regions have not yet announced an end to their restrictions. Therefore, our ability to provide a target date for the resumption of regular play is not possible.
USAR suspended “all sanctioned competition and rugby activities are suspended for the foreseeable future,” on March 20, 2020. It requested that members and clubs “refrain from match play, training or team gatherings during this period,” and highlighted that accident and liability claims will not be accepted during the above window of time.”
USA Rugby will communicate information on when rugby activities will potentially be able to resume before June 1. In the meantime, the MWRFU will provide notifications as they become available. Listed below are frequently asked questions (FAQs) for your reference:
My region/city/state has relaxed regulations regarding social distancing and shelter in place orders. Can my club resume regular operation?
No. USAR suspended “all sanctioned competition and rugby activities for the foreseeable future,” on March 20, 2020. Members and clubs should “refrain from match play, training or team gatherings during this period,” and accident and liability claims are not being accepted.
Clubs will be permitted to resume regular operation after USAR has restored sanctioning, and the accident and liability insurance has been reinstated and permissions granted by state and local health officials.
When USAR lifts the suspension, can we play straight away?
It will depend on where you live. This epidemic is impacting each state/region/city differently. While USAR may lift the suspension of rugby activities, we will still abide by state and local health agency directives to keep the Midwest Rugby Community safe.
Matches won’t be scheduled until teams have had enough time to complete suitable training, including scrummaging, for a reasonable amount of time, expect a minimum of three weeks before playing sanctioned matches. Also, we anticipate that clubs will be required to learn and adopt best practices for mitigating coronavirus risks from USAR and World Rugby.
How will MWRFU handle scheduling matches for some portions of the Union if others are still under restrictions?
The competitions committee is working through all possible scenarios, including abbreviated 7s championships, 15s, and select side play.
Localized, LAU-focused, friendlies also are a possibility for the foreseeable future if USAR resumes sanctioning and insurance coverage, while regions/cities/states are still easing coronavirus-related restrictions.
Timelines for these scenarios will be presented to the membership seven days after USAR resumes sanctioning.
Will the MWRFU 7s Championship series take place?
Not as planned, no. USAR is tentatively scheduled to provide an update regarding National 7s Championships in early June. The MWRFU will develop a series based on that announcement, which could include a reduced number of qualifying matches and a championship series that would begin in July and conclude in August.
What is the status of the 15s season?
We are moving forward with regular planning of 15s in the Fall until otherwise notified. Contingency planning 15s includes an abbreviated fall season with championships in November, a split season (fall/spring) with championships in the spring, and playing an abbreviated league season during the spring of 2021.
Will there be a select side program this year?
An abbreviated select side program is under consideration. A program-related announcement will be contingent on USAR sanctioning and the interest of other programs from around the country to compete.
How can I prepare my club for reemerging after all restrictions are lifted?
COVID is impacting the health and finances of people everywhere. Its impacts on respective clubs are to be determined.
We encourage local area union and club administrators to begin conversations with their memberships about COVID’s impacts and if they will be able to participate in a regular league season when restrictions are eased.
The collection of this information will enable clubs and unions to respond to requests for information from the competitions committee that will assist in expediting the scheduling process.