The RFU Council has cancelled its adult competitive leagues below the men's RFU Championship and women's Allianz Premier 15s for the 2020/21 season.

The RFU made the decision in light of the current coronavirus restrictions, which have prevented any competitive rugby below elite level from being played since March.

The Championship remains on course to start in January 2021, with this league subject to the Government’s Elite Return to Play protocols.

In a statement published on Friday, the RFU Council said: "We believe that, even if a return to full contact rugby becomes possible, playing a meaningful competitive league season resulting in promotion and relegation is no longer feasible.     

"Given the Government’s additional restrictions to curb the increase in Covid-19 cases in locations across the country, and growing concerns around travelling significant distances outside immediate localities to fulfil fixtures due to increased risk of transmission, the decision has been made now so we can provide clubs with some certainty for the remainder of the season."

Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston said: "I know that today's [Friday's] decision from the RFU will be disappointing to players and fans across the country however protecting people's health is absolutely paramount.

"The Government is continuing to work closely with the RFU on ways in which we can bring the competitive, community game back in some form ahead of a return to full contact as soon as the public health situation allows."

Cornwall RFU chairman Dave Saunter published a brief statement in response to the decision, saying: "We have been led to believe that if the go ahead is given by the Government to play, RFU will sort out fixtures. Our question would be: “Is this in the interest of our Cornish clubs, if not what do we offer as an alternative?”

"We have already started to put together return to play merit tables and once we have had a chat with Competitions committee we will come back to you with a structure, which you will either welcome or we can tweak.

"Our priority is still to have 28 Cornish clubs playing rugby when we return to normality. In the meantime if you have embraced ready for rugby, keep up the good work."