Southern Kings have withdrawn from all rugby competitions in 2020 amid growing financial difficulties.
The South African club made the decision at an urgent board meeting on Monday and informed players and staff the following day.
It means the Pro14 side will not compete as one of eight teams in a domestic competition planned to begin in September.
Kings chairman Andre Rademan said it was the only viable option after a failed takeover bid which left the club in the hands of South African Rugby (SA Rugby).
"Following several weeks of interrogation of the Kings' financial state of affairs we were left with a straightforward choice," said Rademan.
"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 R6.5m, which would add to the organisation's existing substantial debt.
"However, as there was no contractual requirement for the Kings to resume short-term participation in the Guinness 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.
"This may not be a popular decision but in the current circumstances it is the right decision."
The Kings had endured a miserable Pro14 campaign, managing just one win from 13 matches.