Scottish Rugby Union chiefs have set aside £500,000 to help clubs struggling in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.

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Murrayfield bosses have set up a Club Hardship Fund to “offer financial assistance to grassroots clubs facing cashflow and immediate financial challenges” while sport goes into shutdown.

They have also announced that ‘collective club support’ payments worth more than £500,000 which were due to be paid to members in May will now be forwarded a month early.

The SRU has already put a hold on domestic action until March 29 while both Glasgow and Edinburgh have seen their Guinness PRO14 campaigns suspended.

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive, Mark Dodson said: “These are unprecedented times and we are acutely aware of the significant day to day financial challenges our member clubs will face in the coming weeks if fixtures cannot be resumed in the mid to long term and other planned fund-raising initiatives are curtailed.

“We are creating the £500K Club Hardship Fund to provide clubs with the reassurance there is financial assistance available to the dedicated volunteers and staff who deliver our game in their local communities.

“It is important we act now and provide tangible, practical support during these unsettling times.

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“I also want to offer, on behalf of everyone at Scottish Rugby, our very best wishes to everyone across the country at this extremely difficult time.”

Clubs will be invited to apply to the CHF by completing and returning a CHF claim application, which will be posted on the Scottish Rugby website later this week and contain details of the necessary criteria. Scottish Rugby will look to release funds in a timely manner as appropriate.

The full criteria for CHF applications will be shared with all rugby clubs in Scotland through Scottish Rugby’s own ‘Club Comms’ channels in the coming week.

On Friday 13 March Scottish Rugby announced that with effect from Sunday 15 March at 6pm there will be a short period without domestic competition (or training), while a further assessment is made up to, and including, Sunday 29 March 2020.

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Scotland’s final Six Nations clash with Wales is now likely to be played in October after it was belatedly postponed on Friday afternoon.

Press Association, additional reporting RugbyPass/Scottish Rugby

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