The RLEF board has announced the postponement of the 2020 Americas Championship, that was due to be played in November in Kingston Jamaica for the first time, also featuring USA, Canada and Chile.
The principal reason behind the decision is that the South American country has still not yet reached its Covid-19 infection peak and rates are still high in the USA and Canada, potentially putting players and staff at risk.
In addition, there is now insufficient time to prepare the nations properly with domestic competitions having been suspended because of coronavirus, and there has been a consequent impact on potential funding and sponsorship.
“Making the decision now gives certainty for the nations for the remainder of this year and planning can begin in earnest for the 2021 Championship,” said RLEF chair Maurice Watkins, CBE.
“The board has concluded that the rescheduled tournament should take place in early May 2021 and coincide with the Americas 9s. In addition, Jamaica, who will play in the 2021 Rugby League World Cup for the first time, will be given first option to host the 2022 competition. Our first priority has to be the health of all concerned.”
Adrian Hall, vice chair of the Jamaica Rugby League Association, commented: “Whilst we are disappointed that the 2020 Americas Championship will not be staged, especially given that we were ready to welcome everyone to our beautiful island, we look forward to working with all partners to ensure that we have a successful 2021 tournament, where we hope to retain the trophy and bring it back to Kingston with us.
“We choose to see this delay as a blessing as having the Championship in 2021 will help to kick-start our preparations for RLWC2021.”