Ulster will play their next two home professional fixtures – scheduled to take place over the next four weeks – behind closed doors at Kingspan Stadium.
This decision is in line with the views of the Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Advisor in Northern Ireland who have indicated that it would be unwise for large gatherings to take place at this time.
Ulster were the first of the provinces to have fans back at a home Guinness PRO14 match when they opened the new season with a 35-24 bonus point win over Benetton Rugby. The game, at the start of the month, was watched by 600 spectators at Kingspan Stadium.
The latest decision will be reviewed ahead of Ulster’s PRO14 fixture at home to the Scarlets on Sunday, November 22.
The latest development in the professional game follows from last week’s announcement, made alongside the IRFU, that all rugby activity below elite level in Northern Ireland will be suspended for four weeks.
Clubs in the Republic of Ireland will enter Level 5 government restrictions at midnight tonight, with the IRFU guidelines for operating at this level outlined below.
Ulster Rugby and the IRFU recognise that regulations in Northern Ireland currently permit non-contact outdoor sporting activity for up to 15 people from different households, but have decided to respect the medical advice and suspend all activity with immediate effect, in the spirit of doing the right thing for the sport and the community – helping to keep players, coaches, referees and volunteers safe.
Ulster Rugby and the IRFU continue to be in proactive dialogue with government to secure the necessary hardship funding for the sport at all levels.