The traditional boat races between Oxford and Cambridge scheduled for 29th March have been cancelled due to Coronavirus. The race’s organisers announced in a statement today that the event will no longer take place out of “concern for the welfare of our crews, our spectators, our staff and volunteers”
This is the first time the men’s event has been cancelled since the Second World War, whilst the women’s race has taken place every year since its inception in 1977. The decision comes after the government issued new guidance advising against large public gatherings.
Robert Gillespie, Chairman of the Boat Race Company Limited, said: “Given the unprecedented situation our country and each of us as individuals faces, the public good far outweighs all other considerations. Cancellation of The Boat Race is therefore clearly the correct decision.”
“Our thoughts are very much with the athletes who have worked so hard and made immense sacrifices to represent their University and are now unable to do so. To cancel is not an easy decision and we realise this news will undoubtedly disappoint all those who look forward to the Race each year.”
“We would like to thank our partners, fans, the local businesses and community for their continued support.”
The Oxford University Boat Club announced it was “bitterly disappointed” by the cancellation via their Facebook page. Its post continued: “The team has been spending its last days together before we go our separate ways. We would like to thank our alumni and all our dark blue fans for their support this year.”