ORGANISERS of Henley Royal Regatta have confirmed the event will not go ahead this year.

In a statement on the event's website it said organisers have also ruled out the possibility of staging the Regatta at a future dat ethis year.

In the event's 181-year history it has only previously been cancelled during World Wars.

The statement said: "So many athletes and coaches have worked so hard for an entire season in order to give themselves the chance to race at Henley.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus latest as numbers rise to more than 70 cases now confirmed in Berkshire

"Nonetheless, we are agreed that this is the right decision for our staff, members, volunteers, competitors, spectators, partners and Stewards."

It added: "Our highest concerns have been the health and safety of all those involved in the staging and running of the Regatta, as well as wider public health and the Regatta’s role in society’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19."

The team goes on to explain that despite hoping the UK will have improved significantly by July 1, but it would simply not be possible to install the course and build the site - work which was due to start this week.

Sir Steve Redgrave, Chairman of the Committee of Management, said: “We appreciate that the cancellation of the Regatta will come as a huge disappointment to many involved in the sport of rowing, especially those whose seasons had been planned around Henley, and particularly given that event after event has been cancelled already this year.

"However, no matter how passionate we are about our sport, we are also mindful that there are now more significant issues at stake than the staging of sporting events.

ALSO READ: Coronavirus: Will my post continue to be delivered?

"In this context, it is our hope that all concerned will understand our decision.

"We all know and cherish the fact that our sport is more than a community - it is a family. We encourage all in the rowing family to adhere to Government requirements on social distancing and guidance on good hygiene, and hope that by 2021 we are safely able, once again, to stage the world’s pre-eminent Regatta, over six wonderful days of competition."