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6 Nations

RFU CEO gives COVID-19 planning & support update

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(Photo by Bob Bradford - CameraSport via Getty Images)

Bill Sweeney – RFU, CEO

My thoughts and those of all of us at the RFU continue to be with everyone impacted by the difficult and exceptional situation we are all facing, both across the country and within our own rugby union community.

Earlier today we held a virtual board meeting and I am writing to advise you of the actions that have been agreed to offer a support package directly funded from the RFU worth £7m to provide support for community clubs in England.  

IMPACT

To support clubs we are today announcing that the RFU will be providing a £7m relief package for community clubs. The package includes monies ring fenced and diverted for the community game as well as additional funding. These measures include:

•       An early release of £800,000 cash due to clubs through the ticketing fund.  

•       Early release of final funding payments (£600,000) to Constituent Bodies and suspension of the activity plans against which this was allocated, enabling them to utilise this to provide “immediate support grants” to clubs most in need. In addition £400,000 will be made available to Constituent Bodies who elect to match fund from their own reserves.

•       A suspension of the Quarterly loan repayments for clubs with outstanding loans due in March (£335,000).  

•       The creation of a £5m support loans programme, offering loans of between circa £2k and circa £10k to clubs, with deferred re-payments for six months and repayable over three years. 

We will be providing more details on this financial package in the coming week. We will also be issuing regular club recovery updates with practical advice on how government grants can be accessed as well as other business management advice. 

We welcome government interventions which will provide business rate holidays and grants for clubs.

The RFU will continue to provide a free helpline to assist clubs with legal and tax related matters: https://www.englandrugby.com/participation/running-your-club/legal-and-administration

Significant progress has been made on the process for considering the implications of ending the season early. We will ensure a fair and balanced outcome for the game and are now committed to update on this by the middle of April.

No one can predict every possible outcome of the COVID-19 outbreak particularly with regard to the duration of this crisis and we are managing in the unknown. We have modelled three potential scenarios and are working on an assumption based on a medium term impact with a view to a return to rugby in the autumn. We will continue to monitor against this assumption and review and revise planning where necessary.

The RFU had budgeted for a loss making year within a four year cycle due to the costs of the 2019 RWC campaign and hosting only two home Six Nations games. The loss will now be considerably more as we face challenges similar to businesses across the country. 

The RFU’s biggest asset is also a major cost and the closure of Twickenham Stadium has a significant impact on the revenues we can generate to re-invest back into the game. In that sense we are like every other club in the Union, when we do not stage matches and events we do not generate revenue.

Based on our planning assumption we estimate RFU revenue losses over the next 18 months to be approximately £45-£50 million and have a firm plan in place to mitigate this. The RFU Executive Team will be taking a cut in remuneration in excess of 25%. In addition, combined Board fees will be reduced by 75%.

WELFARE  

We are continuing our support to ensure colleagues and communities are given help to follow government advice and are providing recommendations on how to stay fit and healthy and a range of new content will be made available to players and fans across our social media channels. 

We are discussing with government and the NHS the role the RFU and Twickenham Stadium can play in providing volunteers as well as support for the NHS including accommodation, parking and meal provisioning.

I am confident that rugby will play a big role in energising communities across England after this difficult period. In the meantime, we are working hard with the wider rugby community to take the necessary measures to safeguard a financially resilient Union so that we can.

6 Nations

Cian Healy signs short term extension

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Ireland and Leinster loosehead prop Cian Healy has signed a 1 year extension to his IRFU contract up to the end of the 2021/22 season.

Cian is Ireland’s most capped prop forward having lined out for Ireland on 107 occasions to date. He made his Ireland debut against Australia in November 2009 and was selected for the 2013 British and Irish Lions tour of Australia making two appearances before injury ended his involvement.

Cian has won three Six Nations titles with Ireland and represented Leinster on 226 occasions winning four Heineken Cup titles during his career in blue.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Cian has been a cornerstone of both the Irish and Leinster packs for over a decade.  He has shown incredible resilience to come back from serious injury and perform at the highest level.  Cian has a lot to contribute to Irish Rugby and we are delighted that he has signed on for another year.”

Cian Healy, commented,

“My drive for success at both Leinster and Ireland is as strong as ever.  I am lucky enough to currently be part to two teams with the same mentality which is special and I look forward to another season of pushing boundaries and achieving our goals.

I’m loving my rugby as much now as I did at the very start of my career and looking forward to having our supporters back in stadia.”

Article from Irish Rugby

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6 Nations

O’Mahony Signs Contract Extension with IRFU

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Ireland and Munster backrow Peter O’Mahony has signed a two year extension to his IRFU contract keeping him at Munster until 2023.

Peter made his Ireland debut in the Six Nations against Italy in 2012 and has gone on to win 74 caps and captain his country on eight occasions.  A Lions tourist in 2017, Peter captained the Lions in the opening Test of the series against New Zealand.

Peter has represented Munster on 141 occasions becoming captain of his province in 2013 at the age of 24.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Peter has played a leadership role in Munster from an early age and is one of the senior leaders in the national squad.  He is a competitor and passionate about playing for both Ireland and Munster.”

Peter O’Mahony, commented,

“It’s a huge privilege to sign on with the province and country I’ve grown up in and dreamed of playing for. It’s been something I’ve been very open about saying from day one and its very pleasing to be able to continue the journey for two more years.

There’s a huge amount of responsibility that comes with representing both teams and I understand how much pressure there is to deliver silverware, however, I am incredibly enthusiastic on the position and competitiveness of both Munster and Ireland and I look forward to hopefully contributing to both, to succeed in delivering that success on the pitch.”

Irish Rugby

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6 Nations

Sexton extends contract

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(Photo by Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

Ireland and Leinster out-half Johnny Sexton has signed a 1 year extension to his IRFU contract up to the end of the 2021/22 season.

The 2018 World Player of the Year took on the Ireland captaincy in January 2020 and is one of Irish rugby’s most decorated players.

He has been central to both Ireland and Leinster’s success for over a decade following his international debut against Fiji in November 2009.

A two time Lions tourist in 2013 and 2017, Johnny has won three Six Nations titles with Ireland and four European Cups with Leinster.  He has represented his provinces on 171 occasions scoring 1505 points.

David Nucifora, IRFU Performance Director, commented,

“Johnny continues to show he has the quality and appetite to compete at the highest levels.  He is playing an important leadership role with the Ireland squad and his insight and experience continues to be of great value to the group.”

Johnny Sexton, commented,

“I am really enjoying my rugby and I want to keep learning and adding value to both the Ireland and Leinster environments.   I am enjoying the challenge of captaincy and the added responsibility that it brings.  My appetite for success is the same as it ever was and the ambitions of both the Ireland and Leinster squads match my own.”

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