Premiership Rugby has started an “urgent review” before Sunday’s final fixtures after 16 individuals at Sale Sharks tested positive for Covid-19.
Sale Sharks said on Friday evening that their game at Worcester will go ahead, although Warriors have said the match is “still the subject of discussions”.
A forfeited game means a 20-0 defeat.
“The health and well-being of our players and staff is our priority,” said Darren Childs, chief executive of Premiership Rugby.
“More than 900 PCR Covid-19 screening tests were carried out on Thursday. On Friday we received the results, which was followed by a comprehensive contact tracing programme at our clubs, created by those positive tests.”
“These results are being analysed with the help of Public Health England and the local health authorities involved. This will allow a decision to be made over the Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors match, and any others that have been affected by positive results.”
Sale Sharks are one of four clubs hoping to fill one of the three remaining Premiership semi-final places.
Sharks are fourth, level on points with Bristol, but with a superior points difference compared to the Bears.
Childs added: “We understand the stakes are very high this weekend but we have a responsibility to everyone involved with Premiership Rugby to ensure a methodical process is followed, and this cannot be rushed.”
On Friday, Worcester said in a statement: “The sole criterion for deciding whether a match can take place in the current unprecedented and worrying circumstances is the safety of officials and players and staff of both clubs and minimises the risk of anyone contracting and spreading this killer disease.”
“Warriors would always prefer the outcome of a match to be decided on the pitch and will do so provided we are satisfied that all the Covid-19 protocols and procedures have been followed and no health risk is posed to our players and staff.”
“At the moment we are still awaiting confirmation that those protocols and procedures can be met to allow Sunday’s match to proceed as scheduled.”
Sale Sharks, who said “the fixture can be fulfilled safely” after “thorough consultation”, have not confirmed how many players had tested positive, stating only that there were “a number” of cases.
All team selection information, scheduled to be released on Friday, was put back until Saturday.
All six fixtures on the last day of the Premiership season are scheduled to kick-off simultaneously on Sunday, with the top four teams progressing to the play-offs.
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