Distribution: Friday 3 April 2020
 
 
Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update
Please find below the fourth edition of our Coronavirus (Covid-19) update.

We’ve launched a dedicated web portal on the England Rugby website, which you can find here, to help the rugby community access from one place the Coronavirus (Covid-19) information and updates available. This now includes a Club Support Guide. In addition, we’ve announced the final 2019/20 league positions and have obtained more information regarding the Sport England Community Emergency Fund. Eddie Jones has also sent a supportive message. More detailed information is available below.

We will continue to provide regular updates to support our clubs through this communication.
 
 
RFU headlines
Launch of Coronavirus (Covid-19) Website Portal

Our dedicated Coronavirus (Covid-19) webpage will help the rugby community easily access all the information available during this period.

Club Support Guide

The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has already had a profound effect on our rugby community and, with great uncertainty as to how long the changes will last, the RFU has compiled a Club Support Guide. This includes tips and guidance on financial planning, how to mitigate any losses in revenue, accessing external funding, ideas to generate new income streams, mothballing facilities, communicating with members and volunteers and planning for the future when rugby opens once again.

Final league tables

Following the early end of the 2019-20 rugby season in England, we announced the decision reached regarding league positions for the professional and community game on Thursday 2 April 2020.

The final league positions have been determined by awarding league points to a team’s remaining matches based on their home and away playing record in fixtures played up to the cancellation of the 2019-20 season (fixtures up to the 16 March).

We have now published the final league positions for Men’s RFU Leagues (levels 3-12) and Women’s RFU Leagues (levels 2-5) and have provided a more detailed explanation of methodology used to conclude the season. Click here to read more.

Emergency Loan Scheme

Last week, we announced an emergency loan scheme for clubs. The online application process for the first round of loans will open on Monday and will be open until 30 April 2020. The scheme has been launched to support voting clubs impacted by Covid-19 in the immediate and short term (next few months) to ease cashflow and meet outstanding costs. Loans of between £2,000 and £10,000 are available to provide eligible clubs at league level 3 and below with financial support towards essential operational expenditure. These loans will be interest-free, repayable over a period of up to three years, with an opportunity to defer the first payment for up to six months.

Please check the England Rugby website on Monday 6 April to access the online application portal and view supporting documents.

Annual General Meetings

Many clubs will have AGMs scheduled for the coming months, and some will already have sent out notices for those AGMs. The current government guidance on social distancing will mean that it is impossible to hold physical AGMs.

To give some clarity to clubs, the RFU Regulations do not require clubs to hold AGMs by any particular date, or in any particular way. Any requirement to hold AGMs will be set out in a club’s constitution (their Articles of Association if the club is a company, or the club’s Rules if it is a Registered Society).

Clubs may want to hold AGMs electronically, for example by conference call or video-conference. On Saturday 28 March, the government announced that there would be changes to legislation to give flexibility for companies required to hold AGMs by a certain date. It was stated that “this might include postponing or holding the AGM online, or by phone using only proxy voting”. If a club has not yet called its AGM, it may be appropriate to wait until this guidance is available before calling the AGM.

Once further details of this legislation are known, further guidance can be given. Clubs may want to postpone their AGMs, although how this will impact on people’s appointment for specific time periods will depend on how the proposed legislation is drafted. Further guidance on the use of technology to hold AGMs will follow.

If clubs have specific questions about holding AGMs until new guidance is available, they can contact the Legal Helpline on 0330 303 1877.

 
 
 
Other support packages
Update on Sport England Community Emergency Fund

Sport England announced earlier this week a £195 million package to help sport and physical activity through Coronavirus. This includes a new £20 million Community Emergency Fund which is open now for local club and community organisations to bid for grants between £300 and £10,000 – click here to read the article.

We have now analysed what this could mean for rugby clubs – click here to find out more.

 
 
 
Clubs doing great things
We continue to receive inspiring stories about the great work that is being undertaken to support local communities or to protect their own financial position. These will appear in weekly features on the England Rugby website.

Many clubs are also staying connected with young players in a variety of ways. One has hosted a virtual tour, many are passing the ball digitally, or even the toilet roll, and one is running a short story competition for young members with the mayor reading the winners on local radio.

Please email VeeMontebello@rfu.com or PatriciaMowbray@rfu.com to let us know about your club’s activities.

 
 
 
Other important updates
Update on Payment of Player Declarations

For clarity, please note that The Payment of Player declaration requires the declaration to be approved and minuted at a formal club meeting. For the purposes of the declaration, a formal club meeting can include a virtual/online meeting as well as a physical/in-person meeting. In relation to signing the declaration, a new system is in place for this season. Physical signatures are no longer required and all signatories can authorise the document online.

Message from Eddie Jones

“All the best to the rugby community for helping out. It’s a difficult time.

“Obviously, the health of everyone is the most important thing but rugby is a game that has always espoused teamwork. One of the things we talk about with the England side is how to be a better team mate and I think now it’s how you become a better citizen.”

Click here to listen to the full podcast.

Message from Sarah Hunter to NHS Workers and the UK

You can see Sarah Hunter's message here.
 
 
Teamwork   Respect   Enjoyment  
Discipline   Sportsmanship
 
 
 
 
 
 
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