Wed 6 May 2020 | 03:13

What is required to stage match behind closed doors

What is required to stage match behind closed doors
Wed 6 May 2020 | 03:13
What is required to stage match behind closed doors

RETURN TO PLAY SPOTLIGHT: The idea of staging matches behind closed doors has been bandied about as a ‘solution’ to the ongoing financial threat of the COVID-19-enforced lockdown.


The staggering amounts of money unions around the world are losing have been well-documented.

The Rugby Football Union expects losses of between £45-million (US$56-million) and £50-million (US$62-million) as a result of COVID-19 cancellations.

SA Rugby is expecting to lose between ZAR700-million (US$37,8-million) and ZAR1-billion (US$54-million), while New Zealand Rugby (who lost NZ$7.4-million [US$4.5-million] in 2019) ) faces a 70 percent decline in revenue in 2020 amid the global shutdown.

That is why unions and franchises are desperate to get the game going as soon as possible.

But what exactly does it require to stage a match behind closed doors?

Without a single spectator, it requires 167 people to stage a match – according to World Rugby’s return to rugby guidelines.


The international body released the details of its RTP guidelines – for the safe return to activities in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic – on its player welfare website.

These ‘guidelines’ have been developed by medical experts – following consultation with union chief medical officers, competition owners and players, the guidelines are intended to assist unions, clubs and competitions in creating a framework and policy for return to rugby activity within their respective jurisdictions.

Unions and competition owners will need to comply with local laws and policies implemented by government or local authorities in relation to COVID-19, including social distancing and travel measures.

“For the avoidance of doubt, this does not mean that matches will have to be played behind closed doors until a vaccine is available,” World Rugby said on its website, adding: “The strategy will be determined by the respective national government directives.”


The guidelines have two core sections containing important information.

The guidelines, which are World Health Organisation compliant, outline three dedicated time-bound return-to-training phases – small group training, full group non-contact training and full contact training.

It also documents the environment for returning to match action in a domestic, cross-border and cross-continent context and processes for facility and stadium preparation.

“We are all missing the sport that we know and love, and while it is difficult not to be playing or training, advice by the respective governments and authorities must be adhered to,” said World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont, who this past weekend was re-elected for another four-year term as.

“World Rugby, in full partnership with unions and players, has been busy behind the scenes ensuring that everything is in place for a safe and speedy return to the sport when it is appropriate to do so.

“This includes delivering best-practice coaching, refereeing and conditioning webinars, resources and Apps and, of course, a phased roadmap for the sport’s return to training and playing.”

The guidelines were authored by World Rugby Chief Medical Officer and guideline co-author Éanna Falvey, Martin Raftery (World Rugby), Prav Mathema (Welsh Rugby Union), Mary Horgan (consultant physician of infectious diseases) and supported by data collected through regional COVID-19 steering group chairs who consulted with World Rugby’s 124 national member unions.

Below are the minimum stakeholders required to deliver a televised match behind closed doors.

For the full World Rugby RTP guidelines, CLICK HERE!

Close doors match

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What is required to stage match behind closed doors | Rugby365