WITH the usual proviso that nothing, but nothing, in sport is in any way important when human lives are at stake due to coronavirus, nevertheless I do think it is time for some realism to surface in rugby – and other sports I could name.

I won’t go into the shenanigans of the SPFL but frankly all involved are shamed and disgraced by their actions and attitudes. What bit of “championship and relegations don’t matter at this time” are they not getting? Washing dirty linen in public tends to get you just one thing – huge disdain. It’s even more the case when people are seeing relatives and friends die on a daily basis.

The SPFL collectively is looking like a bunch of self-interested, self-important nonentities and I’d use the phrase “a plague on all your houses” if it wasn’t so inappropriate at this time. By contrast, Scottish Rugby has been seen to take a responsible attitude so far, apart from its president Dee Bradbury’s ludicrous decision to carry on with a governance task force at this time. Bonkers, frankly.

Now I think it is time for the SRU to take a lead in world rugby and state the case for the complete cancellation of the current Six Nations tournament, plus the national team’s tour to South Africa and New Zealand.

My previous views that the Six Nations be just postponed and played to a finality prior to the Autumn Tests has been altered by the chain of events we are going through. In short, it is now looking as though coronavirus is going to have much more damaging and long-lasting effects than we originally thought.

I am sorry, but now I simply cannot see the resumption of rugby at any level until much later in the year, if at all in 2020. And only when a working vaccine has been developed and distributed to the entire world can sport start to think about getting back to some sort of normality. That is not going to happen anytime soon, and even then our “normality” will have changed.

It may be that the lockdown will be lifted, maybe even before summer, but ask yourself this – if there is even only a handful of new cases each day, would you be willing to take the risk of going to a match at Murrayfield? For that will be the problem everyone will face – how much of a risk will you take to go to rugby or football or even a pub quiz?

Unless and until Covid-19 is completely eradicated then no one should be taking risks and I certainly won’t be doing so – I am one of those older guys with underlying conditions and I don’t like the odds on my survival if I contract it. Consider this scenario – say the Six Nations was to take place at the end of the summer and played behind closed doors. Wouldn’t people be tempted to go to Edinburgh, Dublin, Cardiff, Paris, Rome or London just to follow their national teams? The whole point of the Six Nations is the incredible bonds that exist between supporters. It’s what makes the tournament unique, in my view, and I just know that people would find it very difficult not to give in to temptation.

Then think of all clubhouses, pubs, hotels and homes where people would gather to watch the matches. That’s the very recipe for spreading the virus, and no amount of curve flattening would convince me to go among people if the virus is still active.

I turn again to the administrators of the PRO14 league who suspended their season early and say they will only resume when four conditions are met: That the Public Health Authorities cease to prohibit the resumption of sport and group training; that travel restrictions between our territories are lifted; that no forced isolation or quarantine orders are in force when visiting our territories; that player welfare is safeguarded, including requirement for a suitable pre-recommencement training period, to be established in conjunction with the high-performance personnel at our participating unions and teams.’

Possibly the wisest words I have read from any sporting body during this pandemic, I commend the PRO14 and urge World Rugby – and for that matter every sports governing body – to adopt these conditions. Think about them with realism – none of those four interdependent conditions are able to be met at this time and won’t be for months, so I can’t see the PRO14 league commencing any time soon.

As we go along in this slough of despond, it is Governments which will have to make the call on when lockdown and quarantine can cease. And frankly, given the many difficulties the UK Government in particular has caused, who is going to trust them with their lives and go to a rugby match? Not me, anyway.