With almost every domestic, international and collegiate rowing event due to take place in the next three months being cancelled globally due to the Covid-19 outbreak, the Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Races represent the latest major rowing event to be axed. Other than during the First and Second World Wars, the men’s race has taken place every year since 1845. The organisers said in a statement released on Monday that the decision was “based entirely on our concern for the welfare of our crews, our spectators, our staff and volunteers.”
Robert Gillespie, Chairman of The Boat Race Company Limited, commented: “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, but it is not without sad consequence. 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 – whether watching on the riverbanks, on TV or online. We would like to thank our partners, fans, the local businesses and community for their continued support.”
There are currently no plans to postpone or re-stage the race elsewhere.