ALL football and rugby on the Isle of Wight has been suspended with immediate effect because of the coronavirus crisis.

The Isle of Wight Divisional Football Association (IWDFA), in consultation with the Hampshire FA, pulled the plug on all Saturday adult league and cup and Sunday youth soccer after an emergency meeting last night (Monday).

The Sydenhams Wessex League — which includes Premier club, Cowes Sports, and Division 1 clubs Newport and East Cowes Vics — did likewise.

In an IWDFA statement, its secretary, Andrew Justice said: "With immediate effect, all football in both the Saturday and Sunday leagues are suspended because of the Prime Minister's announcement on measures to combat the coronavirus crisis.

"Clearly, while we are disappointed by this decision, we could not justify continuing to play in view of what he said.

"Information as to when we can resume football and consider the way forward for both the league and cup competitions, will be shared as soon as we are in a position to be able to do so."

The FA, which issued a directive to halt all grassroots football across the land, had previously said any decision to continue playing, or to postpone their respective grassroots competitions, was a matter for each league as autonomous bodies within the game.

However, Prime Minister Boris Johnson's speech yesterday (Monday) advising against mass gatherings and the withdrawal of emergency services personnel from such events, led the FA to change the directive, stressing the importance of people avoiding social contact and gatherings where possible.

"We are now advising that all grassroots football in England is postponed for the foreseeable future," the FA said.

A statement from the Sydenhams Wessex League was also made after an emergency meeting last night.

It reads: "Following a change in government advice, The FA has issued a statement recommending all grassroots football is suspended for the foreseeable future.

"In accordance with that advice, the Sydenhams League (Wessex) has postponed upcoming fixtures.

"The matter will be kept under constant review and we will act in line with advice we receive from The FA and the government." 

All Hampshire league and cup rugby has followed suit, which affects Sandown and Shanklin (Hampshire Premiership), Isle of Wight and Ventnor (Hampshire 1), Isle of Wight II (Hampshire 2), Sandown and Shanklin II (Hampshire 3) and all youth rugby (Vectis RFC).

A statement from the Rugby Football Union read: "Following government advice, the RFU will suspend all rugby activity in England, at both professional and community level.

"Rugby activity includes club training, league and cup matches, plus rugby education courses, from March 17 until April 14, subject to continued review.

"The decision was taken following government advice, in the interests of players, coaches, referees, volunteers, supporters and the wider rugby union community.  

"Where possible, players at all levels are encouraged to maintain their own personal fitness and keep active during this time, while following government guidelines about safe distance and safe exercise environments.

"The RFU will continue to review and monitor government advice and will provide detailed updates on the impact to the season in the coming weeks."