‘We might as well not bother playing the game’: Rugby chiefs fear financial oblivion with fans still locked out of grounds as owners blast Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s new job retention scheme as no help to professional sports
- The end of the furlough scheme will create even more trouble for rugby clubs
- Clubs are desperate to get fans back in grounds in order to earn back money
- Some clubs worry about going bust, losing between £750k and £1m per month
Rugby clubs have warned the end of the furlough scheme will send them further towards oblivion, as the Government announced new financial support measures for businesses.
The Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new Job Retention Scheme aimed at helping businesses pay their staff who cannot work full time.
But furlough – which so many clubs have taken advantage of since lockdown – will end next month.
Rugby clubs are fearing financial oblivion with the Government’s furlough scheme set to end
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced a new coronavirus job retention scheme this week
And second-tier Championship sides will be hardest hit with no fans allowed in grounds.
Nottingham chairman Alistair Bow told Sportsmail: ‘I’m struggling to see any benefit whatsoever. Without crowds and without and secondary spend, you don’t need staff anyway. We don’t need stewards or bar staff because we’re not allowed any fans in the ground.
‘At the moment players are on furlough. At the end of October, we will be able to claim even less back and we still won’t be playing. Our costs will go up. The only way we will get elite sport back to a position where we can start recouping money is by bringing crowds back. Without crowds, we might as well not bother playing the game. The RFU don’t have any TV deal sorted out for the Championship either.
Fans are unlikely to attend live games this year in light of the government’s announcement
RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney has asked for a state bailout, with clubs fearing for the future
‘The support is great for part-time hospitality but it’s not a help for professional sport.’
Premiership chiefs spoke on Thursday to thrash out plans as worries intensify over clubs going bust as most are losing between £750,000 and £1m a month.
Worcester said they now face ‘a fight for survival’ and another club source told Sportsmail: ‘We need industry specific support. The Chancellor’s scheme does not materially change the drastic challenges facing our sport.’