English rugby secures £135m funding boost from the UK Government

Rugby in England has secured a £135m funding boost from the UK Government  in the face of the huge financial challenges faced by the game due to the pandemic.

It is part of a £300m package of support, which will mostly be in the form of repayable loans, to 11 sports, confirmed today by the UK Government and which only applies to England.

Each sport will need to go through an application process to access the support they are eligible for under the final design of the scheme

For rugby in England the indicative £135m, could see:

The Rugby Football Union receiving £44m.

Premiership Rugby: £59m.

Championship Rugby clubs: £9m.

Rugby clubs below Championship: £23m.

The UK Government said the devolved administrations of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland have been provided with an upfront guarantee this year of £16bn above their Spring Budget 2020 funding to support their response to Covid-19.

Specifically on sporting funding outside of England it said: “It is for the devolved administrations to decide how to use this funding irrespective of how UK government provides support in England.”

The Welsh Rugby Union and Scottish Rugby Union have been in talks with their respective devolved governments and the UK Government over financial support running into tens of millions for several months with their revenues severely hit by no crowds.

Based on a Barnett Formula consequential on the funding for the game in England, the Welsh Government would only receive around £6.7m, which even if passed on in full to the WRU would be out of tilter to the union’s size and financial challenges compared to the RFU.

The WRU has already confirmed that if its home games at the Principality Stadium in next year’s Six Nations have to played behind closed doors, it faces a loss of £35m in revenues in its current financial year.

The Irish rugby union ( IRFU), which also covers clubs in Northern Ireland, has already received £16.2m funding from the Dublin-based government.

The other sporting beneficiaries of the £300m for sport in England are:

Football: £28m

National League (steps 1-2): £11m. This follows the announcement that National League clubs at steps 1-2 would receive £10m National Lottery funding to keep them afloat up to the end of 2020, following a unique deal brokered by the Government.

National League (steps 3-6): £14m

Women’s Football (Women’s Super League and FA Women’s Championship): £3m

Rugby League: £12m

This will be delivered as a top-up to the existing  UK Government loan scheme announced in May 2020, to reflect updated circumstances.

Motorsport: £6 million

Owners/operators of major circuits (Silverstone, Goodwood, The British Automobile Racing Club, MotorSport Vision): £6m.

Tennis: £5m

Lawn Tennis Association: £5m.

Netball: £4 million

England Netball: £2m Super League Netball: £2m

Basketball: £4m

Basketball England: £1m.

British Basketball League clubs (including Women’s British Basketball League clubs): £3m.

Ice Hockey: £4m

Elite League: £4m.

Badminton: £2m

Badminton England: £2m

Greyhound racing: £1m

Greyhound Board of Great Britain: £1m.

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Oliver Dowden, said: “Sports clubs are the beating hearts of their communities, and this £300 million boost will help them survive this difficult winter period.

“We promised to stand by sports when we had to postpone fans returning. We are doing just that by delivering another £300m on top of existing business support schemes.

Britain is a sports powerhouse, and this Government will do everything we can to help our precious sports and clubs make it through Covid.”

Earlier this month the four professional rugby regions in Wales agreed the split of £20m Coronavirus Large Interruption Loan Scheme (CLBILS) funding, secured by on their behalf by the WRU from NatWest Bank.

Cardiff Blues are set to receive £5m, the Dragons £4.5m, the Ospreys £5m and the Scarlets £5.5m.

The regions will be liable for the interest and capital. However, if they default or cannot meet the payments, the WRU will still be liable for repayment to NatWest.

The interest rate negotiated with the NatWest on the CLBILS funding, has not been disclosed, but is understood to be just less than 4%.

Business Live – North West

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