How Championship clubs in England react to Friday’s decision by the RFU to end with immediate effect the 2019/20 season will be interesting given the stinging criticism contained in an English newspaper article prior to CEO Bill Sweeney’s announcement.
It was last Monday when the RFU announced an initial temporary suspension of rugby in England that was to last until next month. However, they have now scratched all 2019/20 competitions save for the Gallagher Premiership.
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Prior to this development, anger had been rife among some Championship clubs about an alleged lack of leadership from English Rugby HQ.
Amid fears that some clubs could go to the wall amid the shutdown that followed the RFU’s decision last month to cut Championship funding in half, Nottingham chairman Alistair Bow told Telegraph Sport: “The WRU and SRU and Football League along with many other governing bodies are in constant communication with their clubs and have already got disaster funds in place.
“The only body we have not heard anything from is the RFU, either publicly or privately. Through my different business interests, I am a member of several organisations who have governing bodies and the RFU is by far the worst. They are doing diddly squat, or at least they are not communicating what they are doing.
“The lack of leadership is absolutely appalling. I truly believe out of all my businesses, the one we need strong leadership from the most is the RFU and it has been non-existent.
“The board need to stand up and be counted. We need public statements from them about what support they are going to be offering to our sport. At the moment, they are letting us all down to the extent they could wipe out a sport that we love unless they take immediate action.”
Another unnamed Championship club official added: “It is like we have suffered one kick to the b******* and we have now had another. I just don’t know how some clubs are going to survive.”
Prior to the pandemic striking, Nottingham has planned on remaining full-time for 2020/21, but they had since revised their plan and would instead be going part-time.
“We were going to operate as normal up until the virus,” added Bow. “We had already worked out our budget for next year and we were going to stay professional.
Waiting game ?
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) March 20, 2020
“This now means our income has gone down to zero. I do know, speaking to other clubs on a daily basis, that everyone has been massively affected by this, and remodelling is inevitable.
“As of today we are still paying players but what the situation will be next month I don’t know because we are not getting any clarity or leadership from the RFU. We can’t plan without our governing body giving us clear direction.”
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