RFL Becomes The 1st Sports League To Receive A £16M Bailout. 2021 Rugby World Cup In Danger Of Being Canceled
The absents of sports have left a huge void in the world of entertainment and in a time where a welcomed distraction is needed, there are none. The COVID-19 pandemic has put many sporting teams and leagues in jeopardy and many will not come out of the pandemic without claiming bankruptcy or folding.
Governments around the world are bailing out business in the tunes of billions and billions of dollars and it was just a matter of time before the sporting sector got bailed out.
The Rugby Football League (RFL) will receive a £16 million cash injection to safeguard the immediate future of the sport for the communities it serves, the Government has announced.
The emergency loan will help the sport deal with the extreme financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak while the season remains suspended, due to social distancing measures.
It comes ahead of England hosting the Rugby League World Cup next year, which will see the men’s, women’s and wheelchair games come together for a world first on the sport’s biggest stage. The Government’s manifesto included a commitment to delivering a successful tournament, with significant financial support already provided.
Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said:
This is a massive shot in the arm to secure the survival of Rugby League.
We recognise that many RFL clubs operate on very tight financial margins. Without their ability to stage matches with spectators and despite the Government’s extensive economic package, the professional game has come very close to collapsing.
From my first sports visit as Secretary of State to Leigh Centurions, I could see how important these clubs are to the communities they serve. They are the beating heart of their towns and cities, and their impact goes far beyond what happens on the pitch.
Sports across the board are facing unprecedented pressures, and we are supporting them through wider Government measures. In this case we are intervening as an exception, not to save an individual business or organisation, but to protect an entire sport, the community it supports, the World Cup held here next year and its legacy for generations to come.
Many Rugby League clubs have well-established charitable programmes in their communities, and have adapted these to help the vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic. For example, Hull FC and Cheshire’s West Bank Bears have delivered food parcels to elderly people who are self-isolating, while players from Widnes Vikings and Warrington Wolves have been calling supporters to build connections and check in on their wellbeing.
The RFL will administer this funding, in partnership with Sport England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. All RFL Super League, Championship and League 1 clubs based in England are eligible to apply.
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