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Championship side warn that COVID-19 has left their future in doubt

By Chris Jones
The future of Championship side Coventry is in doubt.

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Coventry Rugby have launched a petition calling on insurance companies to be “good corporate citizens” with the Championship club’s future now at serious risk because they face a significant six figure loss of income caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Coventry, one of England’s most famous clubs, was formed in 1874 and have set up a petition on which calls on insurance companies to fulfil their policies with the leisure, sporting and hospitality sector to help prevent hundreds of small and medium-sized companies from going out of business.

Coventry Rugby’s Butts Park Arena has been closed to ensure they follow Government advice which has disrupted the club’s operations and cashflow at their multi-sport hub used by organisations, junior clubs, schools and universities from across the Coventry area.

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The Rugby Football Union’s decision to end the Championship season with immediate effect means Coventry will miss out on vital income from four home matches, including one against league leaders Newcastle.

In a statement the club said: “The government’s announcement on Friday, March 20th that 80 percent of the wages of furloughed workers would be covered has potentially mitigated some of the impact, but the lack of cashflow is now putting the future of Coventry Rugby at significant risk, as despite the dedication of Executive Chairman Jon Sharp the club needs income to remain a going concern.

“Coventry Rugby has notifiable disease insurance, but after having indicated that the business disruption would be covered the insurer is now preventing the club from making a claim as we cannot provide a test showing we have had a confirmed case. With symptomatic people being told to self-isolate for a minimum of seven days and tests not being readily available this is impossible.

“We either need the government to confirm that medical advice is acceptable evidence in the circumstances, or the insurance companies to behave as good corporate citizens when dealing with such claims.

“The burden of proof should not lie with companies who do not have the ability to test through no fault of our own. We, along with hundreds and hundreds of other similar companies, pay thousands of pounds to be insured for this very scenario, and for the insurance industry to be relying on technicalities of this nature is unjust.

“We are one rugby club. But if this is happening to us it is happening to other sports clubs, theatres, entertainment venues, restaurants, bars, clubs, leisure venues and many more small and medium-sized businesses across the country. Collectively we employ tens of thousands of people and are worth several billion pounds to the economy. This is all now in serious danger of being decimated thanks to faceless technocrats within the insurance industry.

“We call on not just our supporters, but anyone who is being impacted to sign our petition and show that those of us who have acted in good faith and in the country’s best interests need the insurance industry to fulfil their side of the bargain and be the good corporate citizens they profess to be.”

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