A special meeting of the Malta Rugby League board has agreed to postpone all local activity, effective immediately, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Malta will be shutting down all air travel from Saturday as the country extends restrictions to combat the spread of the coronavirus and, as a consequence, the upcoming representative fixture between Malta XIII and UK team Heavy Woollen, scheduled for 4 April, will have to be postponed, as will the Island’s domestic championship, which was scheduled to commence in May.
The decision was made after carefully considering the advice of International Rugby League, the Public Health Superintendent and widespread consultation with local government agencies.
MRL President Jean Pierre Zarb said the suspension covers all training, trials and matches in Malta and Gozo until such time when the government advises that sports are cleared to resume.
“Regretfully, our 2020 Origin series (Locals vs Expats) may also suffer,” he said. “However, our International fixtures abroad are still some time away (late June and October) and our plan at this point is to leave those options open with the favourable outcome of committing to play the men’s and women’s test matches as scheduled.”
Meanwhile in Russia, ARLC director Jon Christie issued the following statement: “In response to new government legislation introduced to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus in Moscow and beyond, the ARLC must confirm the postponement of the 2020 domestic championship.
“Whilst we are disappointed, the health and safety of our players, officials, volunteers, supporters and the wider public is our priority. The situation is constantly changing in Russia and we will update the rugby league community when we have more news.”