is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

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Flyin Ryan
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is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by Flyin Ryan »

Looking stateside, the Eagles have not played a game since Tonga in the Rugby World Cup in October 2019. I don't think we're going to have a match for another year at the earliest marking a 2-year hiatus from the sport. Canada will likely be the same. Meanwhile our fledgling pro rugby competition Major League Rugby was having money problems back when they were playing, there's no sign even with improving virus conditions it'll be back to play this coming spring, and if they have a will to do so, I can't see any regular competition proceeding until vaccine is implemented and widespread, and I don't see that happening for at least another year. Our union was in bankruptcy and was expecting funding coming from operations that will not be coming, although that's an internal USA Rugby problem.

Over in Europe, the competition underneath the Six Nations for the Georgias and Romanias of the world has been postponed again after they stopped their competition short in March and it wouldn't surprise me it's postponed through winter. Then you have the concern of players that are playing pro rugby being unable, unwilling, or their clubs unwilling to have them to travel to areas where a group of people from different regions gather together and may handoff Covid to one another, again in a pre-widespread vaccine environment.

The Six Nations, TRC ex-South Africa, Heineken Cup, club rugby competitions, all are playing because they have massive TV contracts and them and the players all need that money. There's no such incentive for all the rest of the game. Even at a developmental level, we'll have gone here one year without sanctioned rugby matches for kids that are supposed to be our next generation. I have no idea what it's like for the rest of the have nots in the world outside of the Pacific Islands nations where they're probably doing what they've always done and will not be affected as much. It's criminal to only focus on the international game in this context, but the 2023 World Cup, the 2nd half of the nations competing are going to be complete shit compared to how they competed in 2015 and 2019.

From a club rugby perspective here in the U.S., I shudder to think how many clubs will never play a game again where they can put forward a full XVs side. With how much of a twin the Canadian ruggers are to us, they're probably the same.
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kiwigreg369
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by kiwigreg369 »

Worth a bump.

In a sample of one what i'm seeing in my area is that kids sport participation is down (swimming and athletics) which makes me wonder if the covid impact is temporary or more long term. My old boys rugby had 1 game this year - usually it's around 8 games/days - and i suspect a number of people won't stay in the game after a year out.

Clearly i hope it's temporary - as with the impact on non-professional rugby.

But i do wonder - i suspect this will be one of the less obvious covid impacts...
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by fonzeee »

I think this will be the straw that broke the camel's back in many places where the game has always only kind of limped along. Here included. And this on top of declining participation in sports that was already underway.

Not going to turn this into a covid-response discussion but this is the type of shit that makes me put my head in my hands. The damage we've done to ourselves...for what? So f**king stupid.

Oh well I guess.
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by Bindi »

No.
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by DOB »

Our local game of touch has been kept going through the shutdown by the die-hards, and some lads around here have put together tackle beach tournaments and other random games like that.

Some clubs around here won't come back after Covid, some will. There's probably no telling at this stage which ones will be which, but it's been the way of the game in this state as long as I've been playing here. There will be rugby in Californiaanda social player like me will always be able to get a game in the major population centres and some of the small towns, but how much, and how high level, and how much money will be in it is a very different question.
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Calendar Blue
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by Calendar Blue »

Any clubs below the Prem in England must be in dire straits, although rumour has it the Govt is due to announce some extra funding today.
My local club hasn’t played a competitive game since March and without any rugby (and certainly no TV) income has been doing it’s best to find other revenue streams over the summer / autumn. We’ve had a beer garden on the training pitch, Oktoberfest in the marquee, and planned Christmas meals, though I can’t see that going ahead with the current numbers.
We’ve got the bare bones of a squad remaining but we’ll be reliant on our agreement with Saints to field a full side. AFAIK our retained players are still on furlough and aren’t back in training yet. Our only hope is for games played behind closed doors but with clubs reimbursed to the value of their average home crowd. Without supporters coming through the gate, a further rights issue is on the cards in the new year, and at best, a very short season, maybe starting in Jan. But only if we can afford the necessary testing protocols to keep the players safe.
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globus
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by globus »

Calendar Blue! Nice to see you again. How's the horse riding? Still have the nice pic of you with The Management and myself with other bordies at Bedford.

Hope you are well in these silly times.
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by Flyin Ryan »

Calendar Blue wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:42 am Our only hope is for games played behind closed doors but with clubs reimbursed to the value of their average home crowd. Without supporters coming through the gate, a further rights issue is on the cards in the new year, and at best, a very short season, maybe starting in Jan. But only if we can afford the necessary testing protocols to keep the players safe.
How's that going to work? Is this part of the government bailout or RFU? Because I can't imagine the RFU has that kind of money to throw around at the moment, and the RFU was cutting its funding to "minor league rugby" in England before Covid came along.

The nice thing if you want to call it that from an American perspective is clubs don't have infrastructure to upkeep, so expenses are more or less zero. My club we had a bit of a come to Jesus meeting regarding our financial books 3 years ago, they've improved mightily so we've been able to weather the storm of this year well. My concern is all the much less organized clubs around us that are our opponents.
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Calendar Blue
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by Calendar Blue »

globus wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 2:39 pm Calendar Blue! Nice to see you again. How's the horse riding? Still have the nice pic of you with The Management and myself with other bordies at Bedford.

Hope you are well in these silly times.
All good thanks Globus, glad to hear you’re doing ok now too.
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Calendar Blue
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by Calendar Blue »

Flyin Ryan wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 3:07 pm
Calendar Blue wrote: Thu Nov 19, 2020 10:42 am Our only hope is for games played behind closed doors but with clubs reimbursed to the value of their average home crowd. Without supporters coming through the gate, a further rights issue is on the cards in the new year, and at best, a very short season, maybe starting in Jan. But only if we can afford the necessary testing protocols to keep the players safe.
How's that going to work? Is this part of the government bailout or RFU? Because I can't imagine the RFU has that kind of money to throw around at the moment, and the RFU was cutting its funding to "minor league rugby" in England before Covid came along.

The nice thing if you want to call it that from an American perspective is clubs don't have infrastructure to upkeep, so expenses are more or less zero. My club we had a bit of a come to Jesus meeting regarding our financial books 3 years ago, they've improved mightily so we've been able to weather the storm of this year well. My concern is all the much less organized clubs around us that are our opponents.
I imagine it’ll have to come from the govt ‘loan’, although why the Prem have been loaned £59m and the Championship only £9m is baffling to me. Seems like further rewards for poor financial management. Anyway, that’s a different matter... :x

I hope / believe that the Blues (my local club) were in a better financial position than most in our league in March in that we were almost breaking even, but the RFU funding cuts and COVID mean we will probably be quite a different club going forwards compared to what we were before. I’m just thankful we’ll have a club at all to be honest.
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eldanielfire
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by eldanielfire »

Good news, the Government is giving £130 million to Rugby Union to help:

https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/54998979

Coronavirus-hit sports to benefit from £300m emergency funding rescue package
Last updated on39 minutes ago39 minutes ago.

The government has announced a rescue package of £300m of emergency funding for sports impacted by the absence of spectators because of coronavirus.

Both rugby codes and horse racing are among the beneficiaries, but not clubs in football's Premier League nor the English Football League.

Cricket was not on the initial list.

"Clubs are the beating hearts of their communities - this boost will help them survive this difficult winter period," said DCMS minister Oliver Dowden.

Scottish government seeks 'urgent clarification' on emergency sport funding
The government said the Sports Winter Survival Package, which will be largely composed of low-interest loans, will support rugby union, horse racing, women's football and the lower tiers of the National League. It added that rugby league, motorsport, tennis, netball, basketball, ice hockey, badminton and greyhound racing were also in line to benefit.

Sports minister Nigel Huddleston added that grants would be available where organisations were unable to repay loans. He also said "the door was open" to any sport requiring funding, including cricket which was not on the initial list.

The money available is for sports in England, with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland responsible for their own budgets.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) statement added: "Preliminary allocations have been made on a needs-based assessment process and reflect the submissions made from the individual sports, and the funding process will be overseen by an independent decision-making board and supported by Sport England."

It said the first tranche of funding will be distributed in the coming weeks.

A breakdown of funding distribution (preliminary figures):
Note: The final amount received by each sport/organisation may differ from the amounts set out when final decisions are made by an independent decision-making board, and supported by Sport England.

Rugby Union: £135m - Rugby Football Union: £44m; Premiership clubs: £59m; Championship clubs: £9m; Clubs below Championship: £23m

Horseracing: £40m - To racecourses

Football: £28m - National League (steps 1-2): £11m; National League (steps 3-6): £14m; Women's Football (Women's Super League and FA Women's Championship): £3m

Rugby League: £12m

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

Tennis: £5m - Lawn Tennis Association

Netball: £4m - England Netball: £2m; Super League Netball: £2 million

Basketball: £4m - Basketball England: £1m; British Basketball League clubs (including Women's British Basketball League clubs): £3m

Ice Hockey: £4m - Elite League

Badminton: £2m - Badminton England

Greyhound racing: £1m - Greyhound Board of Great Britain


'It's a bit of breathing room'
Chief executive officer Bill Sweeney said the Rugby Football Union was grateful for the "much-needed support" and that the organisation would work with the government to find the "appropriate balance between loans and grants" for the different areas of the sport.

Kat Ratnapala, director of netball at Saracens Mavericks, told BBC Radio 5 Live that the funding would help her club compete in next season's Superleague.

"This means a huge deal to us," she said "The big thing for us is to make sure we are prepared and financially able to start our new campaign in February.

"It's been a tough year for us, financially, to make ends meet. We set up a funding page just so we could come through the first Covid lockdown. It's a loan and we need to pay that back eventually.

"We're definitely not out of the woods, but it's a bit of breathing room so that we can get back on to court at least and get a full season under our belts."

Adrian Christy, Badminton England's chief executive, said the funding could help stave off the threat of job losses in the organisation.

"Since the start of the pandemic, Badminton England has lost more than £2.2m in income," he told BBC Radio 5 Live. "The £2m award will help significantly towards closing the gap.

"It ensures the Yonex All-England Championships can take place - it's the biggest event on the world tour and a qualification event for the Olympics.

"The operation of the organisation also needs the support with 25% of our staff at risk of redundancy - we hope we can save some jobs as a direct consequence. And also, we repurposed Sport England's money from the outset for our survival. That money was taken away from the grassroots."
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by Morgan14 »

My experience in this is more local, so my guess is that high school rugby won't run in the spring like it normally does, the 2nd year in a row. That's 2 years out of the 4 that are the formative years for so many North American rugby players that's lost to them. That has to impact interest in the sport, and therefore playing numbers, filtering up to club rugby in the upcoming years. Not a killing blow in and of itself, but might accelerate already declining numbers. Not to mention a talent vacuum for a couple of years perhaps.
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by Flyin Ryan »

Prem have been loaned £59m and the Championship only £9m is baffling to me.
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by Blackrock Bullet »

The rugby loig crowd must be fuming. :lol:

I'd hope to see a boom at amateur level when we come back to be honest, a lot of people have reset their priorities.

TV revenue will be interesting in the next couple of years.
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by Flyin Ryan »

Any word on starting up? Stateside, elsewhere? We're touch and go on whether we'll have a spring season here in amateur club world. We're holding on telling anyone to sign up and paying dues to both us as well as the national and regional rugby unions until we know for certain because the rugby calendar year ends after this coming spring and summer. I think the meeting where it's supposed to be decided for my club is February 20th.

Meanwhile USA Rugby decided to in the middle of bankruptcy again change their membership system to Sportlomo that everyone is going to have to relearn. Why Sportlomo? Well, they're located in Ireland and have a chummy status with World Rugby.
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by DOB »

A bunch of our lads are planning to head over to Ft Lauderdale for a tournament in February. There is an unsurprising overlap between lads who have said yes to this trip, and lads who said “it’s just the flu” back in March.

I can’t see us having a 2021 season, unless it’s thrown together very quickly once/if infection numbers start to tail off after the vax is available to the general public.
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by towny »

SFBB and I have been saying for 6 months that Super Rugby will be the best club tournament in the world (by miles) in 2021.

I’m hoping the Reds sign Itoje, Vermuelen and literally any flyhalf.

Sure, it might take the imports a little while to get used to the big crowds and rocket fast games, but classy players will step up and shine.
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by Zakar »

towny wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:13 pm SFBB and I have been saying for 6 months that Super Rugby will be the best club tournament in the world (by miles) in 2021.

I’m hoping the Reds sign Itoje, Vermuelen and literally any flyhalf.

Sure, it might take the imports a little while to get used to the big crowds and rocket fast games, but classy players will step up and shine.
English star joe Marchant never got up to the pace Unfortunatly, so never was more than a bench player for the Blues. Slotted straight back into the England set up though.
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by DragsterDriver »

Zakar wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:34 pm
towny wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 8:13 pm SFBB and I have been saying for 6 months that Super Rugby will be the best club tournament in the world (by miles) in 2021.

I’m hoping the Reds sign Itoje, Vermuelen and literally any flyhalf.

Sure, it might take the imports a little while to get used to the big crowds and rocket fast games, but classy players will step up and shine.
English star joe Marchant never got up to the pace Unfortunatly, so never was more than a bench player for the Blues. Slotted straight back into the England set up though.
He’d be fine at an Aussie franchise though.


Rugby here is forked.
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

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Club rugby is bunched here unless it gets some money. That's the level below the provinces. The provinces are also in big trouble. It's not only money though it's the young players lost from the last few seasons never to return
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

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EverReady wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:48 pm Club rugby is bunched here unless it gets some money. That's the level below the provinces. The provinces are also in big trouble. It's not only money though it's the young players lost from the last few seasons never to return
It worries me in an American context as far as our youth. If this spring is cancelled, that means we have high school kids missing 2 seasons in a row. High school is the first level of play for almost all of our kids under 18. With your rosters recycling every 4 years in high school as well as college, you have to do constant recruiting to get players which is not happening, there's going to be a large decline not only in players lost forever but also in a sense of how much lower the standard of play will wind up being. If the high school kids here don't play again until spring 2022, the most experienced rugby players will be players that last played organized rugby as freshmen (1st year players) 3 years prior in spring 2019.
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Zakar
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by Zakar »

EverReady wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:48 pm Club rugby is bunched here unless it gets some money. That's the level below the provinces. The provinces are also in big trouble. It's not only money though it's the young players lost from the last few seasons never to return
What ongoing expenses to your clubs have? Genuinely curious. My Aussie clubs would have been fine, if they're not playing they didn't have expenses.
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by Leinsterman »

Public liability insurance, player insurance, equipment maintenance, light, heat etc. Grounds maintenance.
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by DragsterDriver »

EverReady wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 9:48 pm Club rugby is bunched here unless it gets some money. That's the level below the provinces. The provinces are also in big trouble. It's not only money though it's the young players lost from the last few seasons never to return
We’ve lost the young players and the older players.
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by flaggETERNAL »

The situation in Fiji is reversed to some extent. Provincial rugby just had its biggest years. The club competitions in the 15s are humming along and starting this is the Super 7s rugby series. Our national team otoh went overseas, 3/4 of them contracted Covid and only played one game in the Autumn Nations Cup :blush: :lol:
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Zakar
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

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Leinsterman wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:28 pm Public liability insurance, player insurance, equipment maintenance, light, heat etc. Grounds maintenance.
1 or 2 shouldn't apply if nobody is playing.

What equipment needs to be maintained? Light and heat for a mothballed club?

Got to keep the grass down though, that's fair enough.
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by Flyin Ryan »

Had our club officer meeting last night. Most discussion revolved around what kind of season we'd have in the spring, and if it's less than normal as it's looking it will be, what do we charge because we feel we shouldn't charge full dues. We also can't hold socials with the away club as we normally would.

Spring 2021 plans:

The local union where I live (Indiana) : we're going to have an intrastate competition among 6 clubs inside state borders following state government guidelines on gatherings

The local union to the east (Ohio): ignoring all of the state's guidelines

The local union to the north (Michigan): the chair said "we're not playing any rugby as long as people are wearing masks"

The local union to the west (Chicago Area): has received all state guidelines, but are intentionally not taking action to decide on anything positive or negative

The Midwest Union as a whole are not going to have anything because there's no way they can craft policies to satisfy 8 different states. So a real comeback will be in the fall 2021.
Last edited by Flyin Ryan on Tue Feb 09, 2021 3:45 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by PUMITA »

It will bounce back. It will have a knock on in development of certain age groups and affect unions with less finance, resources to cope but it's only a temporary setback.

Who knows in a few years time we will hopefully have a RWC in the USA and Canada. :thumbup:
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by Flyin Ryan »

PUMITA wrote: Tue Feb 09, 2021 3:28 pm It will bounce back. It will have a knock on in development of certain age groups and affect unions with less finance, resources to cope but it's only a temporary setback.

Who knows in a few years time we will hopefully have a RWC in the USA and Canada. :thumbup:
God I hope not. We need to get our feet underneath us first. On top of Covid, we have a national union bankruptcy we're still working out. I understand World Rugby's and sponsors' motivations, it's mercantilism, but they don't give a shit about the health of rugby in this country. Once we get the game healthy and enough people playing and clubs and colleges and MLR solidified to where if a World Cup being played here would be greatly beneficial to all of the underlying rugby infrastructure, then we can discuss giving World Rugby its USA 1994 World Cup.
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Post by lilyw »

Zakar wrote: Mon Jan 04, 2021 1:02 am
Leinsterman wrote: Sun Jan 03, 2021 11:28 pm Public liability insurance, player insurance, equipment maintenance, light, heat etc. Grounds maintenance.
1 or 2 shouldn't apply if nobody is playing.

What equipment needs to be maintained? Light and heat for a mothballed club?

Got to keep the grass down though, that's fair enough.
Public liability will still apply - somebody trips over while walking on your pitch or in your car park will still sue.

If you're collecting member's dues you'll probably still have to pay players liability insurance (I can't speak for the IRFU but other sporting bodies here have it as part of their rules - they didn't foresee a situation where you literally have no play due to external circumstances.)
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by Fat Albert »

Ampthill will take part in the truncated Championship starting March after raising sufficient money in a Go Fund Me campaign to trigger a sponsors group to underwrite the £120,000 cost of covid testing.

3 years ago Ampthill's total 1stXV & 2ndXV playing budget was £120k...

The funding offered by Sport England for covid testing was a loan, Ampthill have no means to repay that loan and therefore could not entertain the borrowing.

Worse, the RFU selected & mandated the testing organisation and it's cost which is 2 to 3 times the going rate for equivalent testing from independent sources.

12 championship clubs paying £120k = £1.44m in covid testing costs, how much commission is going back to the RFU?

It's time for the 57 old farts to impose the collection of that £1.4m from the pension contrbutions made by the RFU to it's board of directors, which per the accounts, have tripled from £1m to £3m annually since the appointment of Ian Ritchie, the man solely responsible for converting the RFU from a member clubs organisation with rugby at it's centre, to a commercial trading organisation with profit and expansion as it's mission.

Disgusted of Milton Keynes
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by CanNZ2000 »

Just saw this thread, have wondered the same actually. MLR rugby has already lost one team for this season but the rest seem determined to move forward with the season. So to answer your question, I will say 'no' but as others have mentioned it will have some effect on player numbers for a few years.

Now it MLR doesn't actually have a season again this year, well that could be a different story.

The other thing I wonder is how can some of these sports leagues survive. NHL is very reliant on ticket revenue to pay its players as it doesn't have a huge TV contract, how is that league surviving long term? There is a rumour that the Canucks are quietly up for sale as their owner's various businesses have all suffered during COVID.
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

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Fat Albert wrote: Tue Feb 09, 2021 6:07 pm Ampthill will take part in the truncated Championship starting March after raising sufficient money in a Go Fund Me campaign to trigger a sponsors group to underwrite the £120,000 cost of covid testing.

3 years ago Ampthill's total 1stXV & 2ndXV playing budget was £120k...

The funding offered by Sport England for covid testing was a loan, Ampthill have no means to repay that loan and therefore could not entertain the borrowing.

Worse, the RFU selected & mandated the testing organisation and it's cost which is 2 to 3 times the going rate for equivalent testing from independent sources.

12 championship clubs paying £120k = £1.44m in covid testing costs, how much commission is going back to the RFU?

It's time for the 57 old farts to impose the collection of that £1.4m from the pension contrbutions made by the RFU to it's board of directors, which per the accounts, have tripled from £1m to £3m annually since the appointment of Ian Ritchie, the man solely responsible for converting the RFU from a member clubs organisation with rugby at it's centre, to a commercial trading organisation with profit and expansion as it's mission.

Disgusted of Milton Keynes
Ampthill still signing players :)
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Re: is Covid going to kill not Tier 1/not professional club rugby?

Post by PUMITA »

Flyin Ryan wrote: Tue Feb 09, 2021 3:32 pm
PUMITA wrote: Tue Feb 09, 2021 3:28 pm It will bounce back. It will have a knock on in development of certain age groups and affect unions with less finance, resources to cope but it's only a temporary setback.

Who knows in a few years time we will hopefully have a RWC in the USA and Canada. :thumbup:
God I hope not. We need to get our feet underneath us first. On top of Covid, we have a national union bankruptcy we're still working out. I understand World Rugby's and sponsors' motivations, it's mercantilism, but they don't give a shit about the health of rugby in this country. Once we get the game healthy and enough people playing and clubs and colleges and MLR solidified to where if a World Cup being played here would be greatly beneficial to all of the underlying rugby infrastructure, then we can discuss giving World Rugby its USA 1994 World Cup.
It is a mess at the moment FR. What with the American union's financial issues and Canada having a ruling body that has badly managed the transition to professionalism and domestic development. I am hoping in a couple of decades the RWC does pop over there. By which time fingers crossed both unions will have sorted their issues out and are moving both nations in the right direction.

With the right ideas and backing the US can well become a powerful force in the sport.
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