Suspension of all BUCS Activity - Monday 16 March
The developing situation in relation to Covid-19 means we continue to find ourselves in unprecedented times.
Over the last 48hrs we have been following the actions of our members in response to this complex and difficult situation, and we have seen measures taken to ensure the health and safety of staff and students.
The well being of students, staff, volunteers and officials competing in BUCS Competition is of the utmost importance to us and as such, we have taken the decision to suspend the commencement of any BUCS activity, both sporting and non-sporting, from 23.59hrs on Tuesday 17 March 2020 until 09.00hrs Wednesday 1 April 2020.
League and knockouts (all fixtures)
The suspension means that no BUCS league or knockout fixtures will be permitted to take place from the end of tomorrow until Wednesday 1 April. At present, there are over 1,500 fixtures still scheduled to take place this season. BUCS staff are working hard to outline a number of options in relation to bringing all competitions to a conclusion following the suspension. These options will be shared with BUCS Advisory Group and National Competitions Group over the next week, and further updates will be shared with the membership in due course.
BUCS Big Wednesday and Rugby Championship Finals
With all knockout fixtures suspended, this means that BUCS Big Wednesday and Rugby Championship Finals events will be cancelled. Even though the Rugby Championship Finals are not due to take place until Wednesday 8 April, the suspension of league fixtures means that the quarter and semi finals will not be able to take place over the next few weeks. As a part of the ongoing work mentioned above, a plan to enable the playing of finals is one of the priorities of the Executive.
There are a number of individual Championship Events that are scheduled to take place over the next two weeks. As a result of the suspension of activity, the events below will be postponed or cancelled, depending on the feasibility to rearrange later in the season. The Executive is working closely with host venues and partners to confirm the status of each event.
As part of the BUCS programme, this suspension will extend to all LUSL fixtures. The Executive will be including the options around the LUSL finals as part of their work on bringing the season to a close.
As of 10:00hrs Wednesday 18 March 2020 BUCS Play will be locked down and no changes will be able to be made by IAs or Captains. Please ensure that all results have been entered correctly in advance of this. This will allow the Executive to develop a clear picture of all outstanding fixtures.
Non-sporting events and meetings
The Student Leadership Programme event on Sunday 29 March will be postponed.
We are working hard to review all other non-sporting activity, including the upcoming Advisory Group meeting, numerous Sport Advisory Group meetings and strategy group meetings. Our plan is to move as many as possible of these to virtual meetings via video and/or teleconference. We will be in touch with all attendees as soon as we have further information.
For the time being, the BUCS Office remains open, but we are being flexible with staff on their individual working schedules and many will be working remotely. Therefore, please contact BUCS staff via email, using direct email addresses where possible or via [email protected] if necessary.
Next few weeks
We will continue to monitor the situation very carefully and react as best we can during these uncertain times. We will continue to keep staff, students, volunteers, officials and partners as up to date as possible with any decisions made.
Following the latest announcement from the UK Government changing the phase of infection control to ‘Delay’, we have reviewed our guidance.
We will continue to review the situation and communication from NGBs. Nevertheless, we plan to maintain delivery wherever possible. At present, this includes the vast majority of league and knockout fixtures, BUCS Big Wednesday, the Business Opportunities Forum and other future events.
However, we have been contacted by a few partner organisations and venues who have taken the decision to suspend or postpone activity. This has impacted a small number of BUCS programmes and events. There is further detail in relation to this below.
We will deal with all cases in relation to event entries and the fulfilment of fixtures on an individual basis at this stage.
In relation to league and knockout fixtures, in particular, we are sensitive to the impact of institutional restrictions on the ability of their teams to fulfil their fixtures. Therefore, if members take the decision to not fulfil fixtures (home or away), all opposition should be contacted and the request for rearrangements or voids made. Any appeals against this will go through our normal regulatory process. The BUCS Executive will continue to review the impact on leagues and knockouts and plan for a number of possible scenarios over the coming weeks.
Please don’t hesitate to contact the BUCS office if you have any queries surrounding this, as we are on hand to support all members during this difficult time.
Over the next few days, we will liaise with all institutions involved in any impacted programmes and events, to ensure everyone is fully updated. In the interim, please see below a brief summary in relation to each programme/event currently affected:
At 2pm today, the British American Football Association communicated their decision to suspend all American Football related activity for the foreseeable future. This means that the remaining BUCS American Football fixtures, including the Big Wednesday finals, are postponed until further notice.
Football and Futsal
At 1.30pm today BUCS were made aware of the decisions taken today by the SFA and FAW to suspend all grassroots football and futsal. With regards Scottish institutions, our guidance is to follow Home Nation NGB advice and suspend all Tier 1 and below matches due to be held in Scotland.
With regards to Welsh Institutions, we are currently attempting to liaise with the FAW around how this will impact our cross-border competition. We will ensure that all institutions are updated once we know more.
At 2.30pm today BUCS were made aware that Scottish Rugby have issued a statement suspending all domestic rugby from 6pm on Sunday 15 March. We have not been made aware of any similar information from other Home Nation NGBs. At this time we would advise Scottish teams that they should follow the guidance of Scottish Rugby and postpone any fixtures they have scheduled in Scotland. We are currently attempting to liaise with Scottish Rugby around how this will impact our cross-border competition. We will ensure that all institutions are updated once we know more.
Snowsports – Main Event
At 1pm today BUCS were contacted by the Andorran ski resort due to host Main Event to inform us that the resort will be closed until further notice. This, unfortunately, means that BUCS Main Event will be cancelled. All institutions entered into the event will be contacted over the next few days.
The Student Windsurfing Association, who run BUCS Windsurfing, have earlier today contacted the BUCS office confirming the event will be cancelled. All institutions entered into the event will be contacted over the next few days.
We will continue to monitor our other events and their viability to continue based on a range of factors including government advice, entry numbers, availability of officials and the potential risk at our events.
As a part of this, we are aware of varying approaches within the membership to international and national travel restrictions and to individual university regulations regarding student attendance and contact. Therefore, we would be grateful if members could share with us their current institutional stance on the situation, as this will help significantly in informing our decision making.
We will continue to monitor the situation daily throughout the coming weeks and will provide further updates to members. This is a difficult situation for everyone, and we hope that by good communication and collaboration we can chart a successful path through a shifting and variable landscape and would like to thank members for their support in this to date.
We are closely following UK Government, Public Health England guidance and advice from other Home Nations and industry bodies such as the Sport and Recreation Alliance with regard to the potential risk of spreading Covid-19. We will continue to review this guidance and if necessary, contact appropriate authorities directly. We have developed a range of contingency measures which we will enact if appropriate to do so.
Given the current advice/guidelines we are continuing with all BUCS events at this time. We are also reviewing our international competition planning.
We will provide further updates on this situation as and when it is appropriate to do so.
Further advice will be offered to event attendees around countering the risk of spreading Covid-19.
If you have any questions, please contact [email protected]