South African club Southern Kings have confirmed that they will not participate in any domestic competition this year following the financial crisis created by the pandemic coronavirus.
The club was set to take over after a consortium showed interest to acquire acquire acquire 76 per cent stake in January 2019 but the deal did not go through and their involvement in 2020 was hampered by the outbreak of Covid-19 which suspended all sports in the country since March.
"Following several weeks of interrogation of the Kings' financial state of affairs we were left with a straightforward choice," Kings board chairman Andre Rademan said in a media statement on Tuesday.
"We could opt to field the Kings in the domestic competitions mooted by SA Rugby for the sport's post-lockdown resumption if we so wished.
"If we did so, it would require additional loans to the Kings or extra investment from the shareholders to the tune of R6.5 million (£294,430), which would add to the organisation's substantial existing debt.
"However, as there was no contractual requirement for the Kings to resume short-term participation in the PRO14 competition, because of air travel restrictions, and as the Kings had no other commercial commitments to honour, the most prudent decision was to withdraw."
The decision of Kings means they will not be able to participate in the Pro14 tournament this season due to travel restrictions while they are unlikely to feature in the start of the 2020/21 season as well.
"Pro14 Rugby is aware of the Southern Kings voluntary decision to withdraw from any domestic competitions in South Africa for the rest of the 2020 calendar year," read a statement from Pro14.
"Due to on-going travel restrictions enforced by the South African government against the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, it is not foreseen that any cross-border Guinness Pro14 games involving South Africa teams will take place until 2021.
"Pro14 Rugby remains in discussion with SA Rugby on when South African participation in the league can resume in the new year.
"Work is already underway to concentrate the opening 2020/21 fixtures among the 12 European-based clubs."