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Coronavirus Kent: Community rugby clubs in England are to benefit from £7 million RFU support package

The Rugby Football Union are to provide community clubs with a financial support package.

RFU funding totalling £7 million will be available to help community clubs deal with the affects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Canterbury fear they could go bankrupt because of the crisis
Canterbury fear they could go bankrupt because of the crisis

The rugby season has been cancelled, rather than postponed, and many clubs have lost out financially.

Last week Canterbury Rugby Club said they faced bankruptcy after being forced to cancel several end of season events which were vital to their budget.

Club chairman Giles Hilton said this week that they are doing everything in their power to ensure they have a future when sport resumes.

For many clubs, the offer from the RFU - the game's governing body - will be welcomed.

Chief exec Bill Sweeney said: “My thoughts and those of all of us at the RFU continue to be with everyone impacted by the difficult and exceptional situation we are all facing, both across the country and within our own rugby union community.

“The RFU will be providing a £7m relief package for community clubs. The package includes monies ring fenced and diverted for the community game as well as additional funding.”

Numerous measures have been put in place to help clubs’ current cash-flow, including the creation of a £5m support loan programme, offering loans between £2,000 and £10,000 to clubs, with deferred re-payments for six months and repayable over three years.

In addition, the RFU say they welcome government interventions, which will provide business rate holidays and grants for clubs.

With the season ending early, the RFU are also in discussions about how to ensure “a fair and balanced outcome for the game.” They are committed to updating clubs by the middle of April.

Their statement added: “No one can predict every possible outcome of the Covid-19 outbreak particularly with regard to the duration of this crisis and we are managing in the unknown.

“We have modelled three potential scenarios and are working on an assumption based on a medium term impact with a view to a return to rugby in the autumn. We will continue to monitor against this assumption and review and revise planning where necessary.”

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