In June 2021, a series of measures were announced to minimise the impact of Covid-19 on the running of the Energia All-Ireland League for the 2021/22 season.
- Switching to a ‘one up, one down’ form of promotion/relegation where any match was cancelled due to the impact of Covid-19
- A Covid-19 Fixture Impact Submission process for teams with confirmed or suspected cases of Covid-19
- Changes to All-Ireland League regulations for 2021/22, including no re-fixing of games cancelled due to Covid-19 impact
There have been eight games cancelled to date because of Covid-19 impact across the men’s divisions of the 2021/22 Energia All-Ireland League.
96% of men’s games were cleared to go ahead. Two games in the women’s division of the Energia All-Ireland League were cancelled due to Covid-19 with a 95% clearance on games.
What happens if a game is cancelled due to the impact of Covid-19?
Where a game has been cancelled due to the impact of Covid-19, a 0-0 scoreline is applied and each team is awarded two points. The game is not replayed.
What is the process for cancelling games due to Covid-19?
Teams with suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19 must submit a Covid-19 Fixture Impact Form. Details of cases are provided along with any medical advice or instructions from public health received by the team. Follow-up calls are made with the team to clarify and confirm details.
In certain situations, cases can arise at short notice without a proper time frame for Public Health instruction. When this happens, a contingency plan led by the IRFU Medical Director is implemented and a decision is made by the IRFU.
In some cases, a working group may meet to evaluate and determine if a game should proceed or not. The group comprises of: Director of Rugby Development; Chair of National Competitions Committee; Chair of Rugby Committee; Rugby Competition Manager.
Clubs do not have the authority to cancel an Energia-All-Ireland League match.
How is promotion/relegation in the men’s divisions of the Energia All-Ireland League affected?
Automatic promotion/relegation for the AIL men’s divisions no longer applies to the 2021/22 season. The following information is included in Appendix 3 of All-Ireland League Regulations for 2021/22.
Relegation (From Division 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B, 2C):
- One team from each men’s division will be relegated
- Teams that finish 9th and 10th will play off over two games (home and away)
- The team with the lowest aggregate points will be deemed relegated
Promotion (To Division 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B):
- The play-off format for the top four in Division 1A for the All-Ireland League title remains unchanged
- One team each from Division 2C, 2B, 2A and 1B will be promoted via a four-team knockout play-off as follows:
- Semi-Final 1: 1st v 4th (1st at home)
- Semi-Final 2: 2nd v 3rd (2nd at home)
- Final: Home advantage to highest-ranked team
Promotion To Division 2C:
- One team will be promoted to Division 2C
- This will be via a knockout play-off of the four provincial qualifying leagues (Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster)
- Semi-finalists will be paired via an open draw
- Semi-finals will take place on the same day
- Semi-finals and final will all take place at neutral venues
Are women’s divisions affected by changes to promotion/relegation?
No. Promotion/relegation for the expanded women’s division of the AIL has been ring-fenced until the end of the 2022/23 season.