First of all, we hope that all your club members, supporters and sponsors are safe and well and following the government guidelines designed to combat the Coronavirus outbreak.
The premature end to season 2019-20 has proved to be disappointing to say the least but health comes first given the threat posed by Covid-19.
For those of you desperate to watch some rugby action, there are plenty of past matches available to view on various network streams. You can go back to the times when forwards did what forwards did which left space for the backs to do what backs did. A time when scrummages didn’t take forever and when forwards took the laws into their own hands (and feet) to “assist” the referees.
Promotion and relegation issues in the Midlands Leagues have been decided by the RFU and the county leagues have been decided following the same formula. The adult county cup competitions will forever have an asterisk against the season to denote why there were no winners in 2019-20.
Preparations for next season are clearly hampered by the current situation but the county, and some clubs to our knowledge, are trying to sort their affairs by using video conferencing which I presume is a new skill to some of us.
Apart from the concerns for the health and wellbeing of all, clubs will also be addressing their financial position given the shutdown of clubhouses and the lack of rugby activity. The government, Sport England, the RFU, and the SRU have all recognised the uncertainty and difficulties you may face. A variety of options have been created to offer financial help to our clubs. Your Hon. Secretaries should have received all the relevant information but it can also be found in the regular England Rugby Coronavirus Updates and on the England Rugby and SRU websites.
The first step in obtaining assistance from the SRU is to complete the form sent to your club Hon. Secretary by county Hon. Secretary Robin Websdale last week.
The deadline for completion is this Friday, 10th April. Whilst the support we can offer is limited, remember that this is only one way of seeking financial assistance. As the RFU are fond of saying: “There is no one size fits all solution.” Some clubs will have more pressing needs than others so each club will be treated according to the information provided.
Lastly, we are aware and congratulate many of our clubs which have provided support voluntarily to their local communities in a variety of ways.
One of the Core Values of rugby is Teamwork and this voluntary activity should be long remembered once we get back to something resembling normality.
John Atkin and Rob Forysth