Premiership Rugby clubs are to receive £88million in loan support from the Government to help them cope with the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

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The money from the Government’s Sport Survival Package will enable Gallagher Premiership clubs, who have been badly hit by having to play behind closed doors, to complete the 2020/21 season.

Premiership Rugby chief executive Darren Childs 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.

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“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.”

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.

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“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.”

The Government said individual clubs had been through a “rigorous application and due diligence process to determine their financial needs”, with the money covering “essential survival costs due to the lack of spectators”.

The Government has pledged £300million of support in the winter phase of its Sport Survival Package, with another £300million to help major summer spectator sports like cricket, tennis and horse racing.

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