Six Nations could be scrapped
February 28, 2001

Rugby chiefs are considering scrapping the entire Six Nations tournament as the worsening foot & mouth crisis takes its toll

Late on Tuesday afternoon Irish and Welsh officials confirmed that their scheduled match in Cardiff at the weekend had become the first postponement since 1972.

Following the outbreak of foot-and-mouth in England, it was decided the risk of returning Irish fans bringing the disease back in to Eire was too great.

And Six Nations chief executive Roger Pickering admitted that a further deterioration of the situation could well threaten other fixtures which could then lead to the entire competition being abandoned.

Speaking to the BBC, Pickering admitted that England's match in Dublin on March 24th was also under scrutiny. "There must be a doubt," he said. "It's three weeks away, but we're certainly looking at contingency plans in case the game does not go ahead. If there are more outbreaks it looks bleak."

The problem facing administrators is that a fixture backlog would almost certainly clash with preparations for the summer's British Lions tour. The only option might be for the tournament to be abandoned.

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