Distribution list: Tuesday 16 June
Constituent Bodies Chairmen, Constituent Bodies Honorary Secretaries, Constituent Bodies Treasurers,
Club Chairmen, Honorary Secretaries, Treasurers
Coronavirus (Covid-19) Update
Please find below the twenty-fifth edition of our Coronavirus (Covid-19) update.

We’ve provided an update on our commitment to improving diversity and inclusion. There’s also information regarding the RFU Annual General Meeting that took place last Friday, news about the National School Sport Week at Home campaign which starts on Saturday 20 June and a reminder that a Rugby Groundsmen Connected webinar is taking place on Thursday.

Please visit our dedicated web portal on the England Rugby website to access coronavirus information and updates here.

Past editions of these twice-weekly updates can be found on this part of the website. Click here if you need to find a previous edition.
RFU headlines
Rugby united against racism
As a sport, Rugby Union prides itself on being inclusive and open to all. Diversity is therefore hugely important to us and we recognise that there’s certainly more work to be done to ensure that our sport is representative of the society in which we live.

There is simply no place for racism in our sport. The RFU takes a very dim view of this and will take all actions possible to remove any sign of it from our game. We urge our Member clubs to do likewise and would like you to encourage your members to think about their own commitment.What can we all do to support diversity and what actions could make a difference?

Our discipline department will investigate fully any behaviours not in line with the game’s core values brought to its attention and do all that it can to remove abusive behaviour from the game. Anyone with any concerns should contact the confidential helpline speakup@rfu.com.

Below are links to some powerful conversations that may be helpful to listen to or read:

Rugby Union Weekly: Rugby and race with Maro Itoje
BBC Sport - Maggie Alphonsi
BBC 5 Live Breakfast (at 1 hour 55 mins)
Daily Mail Online - Maro Itoje

On the ground in clubs and schools we have focussed significant time and energy to provide opportunities for people from BAME backgrounds to get involved in rugby. Some of the work we have undertaken includes:

All Schools Programme - an initiative started in 2012 as part of the Rugby World Cup 2015 Legacy Programme to increase the number of secondary state schools playing rugby union and to encourage new players to join local clubs. 750 schools have taken part and 22% of those children involved were from BAME backgrounds.

Project Rugby, Premiership Rugby and England Rugby’s inclusivity programme, reached the landmark of 25,000 new players in May 2019. In its first two years there were 3,340 participants from BAME backgrounds, 17,715 from low socio-economic groups and 4,652 people with disabilities participating in rugby.

England’s 2019 Rugby World Cup Squad - more than a third of the players in the squad (31 total) were from BAME backgrounds. These players are great role models and we believe that though them and our participation programmes we can bring new BAME players into the game to become future players, officials and administrators.

The RFU Council has a diversity and inclusion task force. At last week’s AGM the RFU Council voted to appoint Genevieve Glover as chair of the diversity and inclusion implementation working group. Click below to read more about this.

We know we are not there yet, and there is a lot to do. Our great game of rugby prides itself on being a community, so let’s challenge ourselves to keep improving that rugby community and make sure that our game offers an equal experience and equal opportunities to everyone.

We’d love to hear stories from clubs who are doing great things to increase diversity or stamp out racism so that we can share them on our channels. Please email veemontebello@rfu.com.
Genevieve Glover
RFU Annual General Meeting – Friday 12 June 2020
We were delighted that some 188 people took part in the first virtual RFU Annual General Meeting on Friday 12 June, hosted by Lumi Global, our virtual AGM partner. Voting Members were able to listen to the speeches, ask questions and submit their votes via the AGM Portal.

Bill Sweeney provided an update on the 2019/20 season, highlighting the impact of Covid-19 on the game and advised on our current plans for a return to rugby following government guidelines, and only when it is safe to do so. Sue Day gave an update on how Covid-19 is affecting our finances.

All the AGM resolutions were passed by an overwhelming majority, with all but two resolutions receiving at least 98% approval. Following the voting, a number of new appointments were announced effective from Saturday 1 August 2020, including Jeff Blackett who will become RFU President for the 2020/21 season.

The AGM webpage contains links to the press release on the Council & Board appointments, copies of the CEO’s and Presidential speeches and the voting report.

If you have any queries about or wish to provide feedback on the AGM, please contact the CoSec Team via cosec@rfu.com.
Other important updates
National School Sport Week at Home - RFU backs campaign to ensure no child misses out on sport
We are preparing to join the Youth Sport Trust and Sky Sports to help young people and families up and down the country engage in a week of virtual sporting challenges.

With young people set to miss out on a school sport day this summer, the Youth Sport Trust’s annual National School Sport Week campaign is this year being opened up to parents and families and reinvented as National School Sport Week at Home. Taking place from Saturday 20 - Friday 26 June, the UK-wide campaign will give families, communities, schools and sports clubs the chance to capture the enjoyment, competition and camaraderie they have been missing out on during weeks of school closures and social distancing.

We will be taking part in the week by sharing a set of simple rugby skills challenges to take on. We also want players, parents and families to create their own rugby challenges and have a go at those from other sports, posting their efforts online using #NSSWtogether.

Watch out for more information about this campaign on Friday.
Club guidance for off pitch activity
Following publication of the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap, we are working on guidance for clubs regarding off field activities and facilities. As soon as Sport England has published guidance on this area, we will provide an update on the progress of this work.
Webinars & Podcasts
Rugby Groundsmen Connected: Your pitch maintenance programme - Thursday 18 June at 7pm
This Rugby Groundsmen Connected webinar will provide tips, advice and guidance on groundsmanship at your club. This will be the first of a series of Rugby Groundsmen Connected support sessions and it will focus on reviewing what you do now, the day to day tasks that clubs need to consider and talk through a typical renovation programme.

How we look after our pitches is vital to maximising and increasing pitch capacity, whether you have years of experience or have just taken over the upkeep of your club pitches this webinar is for you. Register Below.
Catch up on previous webinars
For those who want to catch up on previous webinars, these are available on the England Rugby website. Please click on the links below:

Club Webinars
Referee Webinars
Coach Webinars
Rugby community doing great things
As long as their communities need it, rugby clubs will be helping out during the coronavirus crisis, while also getting ready to welcome their members back when it’s safe to do so.

There has been some outstanding work over the past three month and great examples of rugby’s values.

CEO Bill Sweeney told Council members at last week’s virtual AGM: “I have great confidence in our clubs and we have all been inspired by the many stories across the game of the rugby family working together to support those who are the most vulnerable in their community – this encapsulates the unique spirt of rugby and reinforces that clubs across our community game are more than just rugby clubs in their local communities.

"We are on top of this most challenging of times and I am confident that this spirit and resilience during this period will ensure we will come through this together and emerge stronger."

Click below to read this week's news from the community.
Weekly News
We’re also hearing more stories from clubs who are helping themselves and their members to prepare for the return to community rugby, when safe to do so. In addition to clubs helping their communities, we will start highlighting these great self-help initiatives on englandrugby.com

Mitsubishi Motors in the UK are proud supporters of the rugby volunteers across England who make up an integral part of the game. Help us recognise your work by sharing your stories and videos with veemontebello@rfu.com or patriciamowbray@rfu.com.

Click below to find out more about the Mitsubishi Motors Volunteer Recognition Programme.
Recognition Programme
Teamwork   Respect   Enjoyment  
Discipline   Sportsmanship
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