CORONAVIRUS – Update 31st March
A lot has happened since the start of this week. We’ve taken a tough decision to furlough some of our employees, which will result in clubs having a different point of contact for a while, we’ve also decided to close our Rugby 365 facilities until the end of June and have cancelled training courses for the foreseeable future. In addition, we’ve made good progress in the understanding the impact of the support packages available, including government and Sport England support. More detailed information is available below.
We will continue to provide regular updates to support our clubs through this communication
Like many other businesses, including some in sport, the RFU is taking prudent steps to protect its finances and employees at this unprecedented time. We will take advantage of the government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. Furloughing of some employees is one of the ways in which we are trying to protect jobs for the future. This will include a lot of our locally deployed staff. Area Managers/central teams will be in contact individually with CBs and partners over the next few days, once we have spoken with all impacted individuals to update on the local situation and mitigation to ensure clubs remain supported
Payment of Players Declarations/Club Grants/Loans
Those clubs currently ineligible for RFU Benefits under Regulation 7 (Payment of Player Regulations – click here to read) will not be eligible for the RFU/CB Immediate Support Fund or RFU loans in the 2019-20 season. In relation to the Immediate Support Fund, CBs are not permitted to utilise their Q1 to Q3 underspend, Q4 advance payment or their share of the additional £400,000 to support these clubs, neither can they allocate any of their match-funded reserves (against their share of the £400,000) to these clubs. Should they wish to, CBs are, however, permitted to allocate any additional sums from their own reserves to these clubs.
CBs will receive a full list of ineligible clubs in the next few days.
If clubs wish to be eligible for RFU Benefits in the 2020-21 season, they must submit a Declaration in accordance with RFU Regulation 7. Further information on subsequent eligibility for loans will follow later this week.
Temporary closure of Rugby 365 AGPs
In order to protect our staff and volunteers who work at Host Clubs on a day-to-day basis, the Rugby 365 facilities will close from 1 April until 30 June 2020, subject to continual review. No maintenance or usage will take place during this period. We have asked Host Clubs to secure the sites and, where possible, the pitches will be monitored remotely. Subject to government guidance, we will work with our partners to bring the facilities back to full operation at the appropriate time. Please contact Rugby365@rfu.com if you have any enquiries
RFU Training Courses
All RFU training courses scheduled to take place between 1 April – 30 June 2020 have been cancelled. Anyone who has booked onto a course will receive notification and full refund. No further training courses will be scheduled until the government’s restrictions are lifted. Members of the England Rugby Coach and Referee Associations will be offered access to a weekly webinars, e-learning and digital content in the interim
Other support available
Government support packages
We understand that Local Authorities are now beginning to write to, or will be shortly writing to, all businesses (clubs) who are rate payers and who will be eligible to receive some of the support grants and rate relief that the Chancellor announced. The communications may be addressed to the business (club) address, i.e. actual rugby clubs. This will depend on the information that the Local Authority holds. You may need to enter your clubhouse to collect the information especially as we have been made aware that some Local Authorities have requested further information, but clearly working within government guidelines.
Sport England launches the Community Emergency Fund
Sport England has today announced a £195 million package to help sport and physical activity through Coronavirus. This includes a new £20 million Community Emergency Fund which is open now for local club and community organisations to bid for grants between £300 and £10,000. We will now analyse what this could mean for rugby clubs over the next couple of days and will provide an update in Friday’s Community Game Update. In the meantime, we would encourage clubs to take a look at this new initiative.
You can read the article here.