The Government has announced the latest tranche of funding from the winter phase of its Sport Survival Package, which will see £88m in loan support provided to Premiership Rugby Union clubs.
Clubs have been through a rigorous application and due diligence process to determine their financial needs. The support will cover essential survival costs due to the lack of spectators for an extended period due to the coronavirus pandemic. In many cases owners have been required to inject additional support alongside that provided by the government to protect their clubs.
Premiership Rugby clubs are largely reliant on ticket sales and fans being in stadiums to remain solvent. This funding will allow the league to complete its 2020/21 season.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “We know that the restrictions on spectators continue to have consequences for many sports. That includes Rugby Union and its clubs at the elite level through to the grassroots. That’s why we’re helping our major spectator sports, with money already benefiting more than 100 organisations, from women’s football, to netball, badminton and basketball, with more to follow as we navigate our roadmap back to normality. This funding will support the survival and continued visibility of men’s domestic rugby union at the highest level, allowing the league to complete its season.”
Darren Childs, Chief Executive of Premiership Rugby, said: “In our hour of need, this Government offered the financial help so urgently needed to allow Premiership Rugby clubs to continue to entertain fans with enthralling games. But more importantly to survive the pandemic so they can continue to play such an important role in the communities they serve.
“We have now completed almost two full seasons without fans in stadia, with the loss of matchday revenue, and that would not have been financially possible without the help of the Government’s Winter Sport Survival Package. When the country emerges from the pandemic the Premiership clubs will continue to play a pivotal role in the future health of the nation. We see these loans as a vote of confidence in Premiership Rugby and our clubs to be able to fulfil that role.
“On behalf of everyone involved in Premiership Rugby I’d like to thank Sport England, the Department for Digital Culture, Media and Sport, HM Treasury and the Government more broadly for their work to safeguard our sport.”