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IRFU Make €500,000 Available To Club Game

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©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

The Irish Rugby Football Union will make €500,000 available to clubs in light of the Covid-19 crisis.

Following a review of its financial position, the Union has agreed to the funding and Domestic Game Director, Colin McEntee, will be advising clubs how the fund is to be applied as soon as is practicable.

The IRFU has confirmed the funding directly to clubs today in a communication that provided them with additional guidance and advice in relation to the on-going operation of their clubs during this unprecedented crisis.

The IRFU are assessing the financial implications of the COVID-19 crisis across all aspects of the game.

A number of measures have already been taken at governance level to limit the damage caused by the significant loss of revenue due to the postponement of games.

The length of the crisis is a critical factor in determining the range of options available to the IRFU. We are in a period of unprecedented financial instability for all involved in Irish Rugby.

The 2019/20 domestic season concluded last week with a number of fixtures outstanding. Current government restrictions also prevent clubs from running important fundraising events.

We know that this has placed many clubs in a difficult financial situation, particularly with regard to cashflow.

The IRFU’s revenue stream has been severely curtailed, however we want to support clubs as much as we can.

What are the IRFU doing for clubs?

1. We have agreed to funding of €500,000 to be made available to clubs. We will come back to you with further detail as soon as is practicable.
2. We will put in place a moratorium on all club loan repayments for four months from April 1st.

Loans in excess of €4 million have been made available to clubs by the IRFU under its current Financial Assistance Scheme. A moratorium on all club loan repayments will be put in place for a period of four months, effective from April 1st, 2020. This will benefit the 56 clubs with payments outstanding to a value of over €150,000 during this period.

What can clubs do?

The IRFU encourages all of its clubs to draw on any government assistance available to them.

There are a range of support schemes for organisations impacted financially from coronavirus.

The Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation has outlined a number of Government supports for COVID-19 impacted businesses including:

• Credit Guarantee Scheme
• Loans for microenterprises
• €200m SBCI COVID-19 Working Capital Scheme
• €200m Package for Enterprise Supports
• Advice for engaging with revenue, checking insurance covert, talking to your bank and taking immediate steps to manage your cashflows.

For more details, go to: https://dbei.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Supports-for-SMEs/COVID-19-supports/

For more information about coronavirus (COVID-19) and its impact in Northern Ireland, go to https://www.nidirect.gov.uk/campaigns/coronavirus-covid-19

The Community Foundation Northern Ireland has established a Coronavirus Community Fund. If your Club is supporting the elderly (50+) in any way, you can apply for emergency funding.

More info here – https://communityfoundationni.org/grants/coronavirus- community-fund/

The Begin Together Fund is open to groups in Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland that support the physical and/or mental wellbeing of their communities. The application deadline is 31st March. However, this may come under review.

Keep any eye on their website for updates:
https://www.communityfoundation.ie/grants/types-of-grants/bank- of-ireland-begin-together-fund-2020

Sport NI are looking at options that will help to mitigate the financial impact of coronavirus including:

• Contingency planning
• Working flexibly with partners
• Ensure letters of offer are issued and grants are processed on time.
• Continuing to identify, and helping to ease, the financial and other impacts of COVID-19 on the sporting sector.

Sport NI are requesting that sporting organisations in Northern Ireland contact them with information about:

• How coronavirus is impacting you or your organisation.
• The type of help you think would be most beneficial.

If your rugby club would like to get in touch, email Coronavirus@sportni.net

The IRFU are in ongoing contact with Sport Ireland and will provide updates with specific information on how this relates to rugby.

Clubs are advised not to contact provincial branches in relation to funding until an update has been provided centrally from the IRFU.