WHEELCHAIR RUGBY LEAGUE

22nd September 2020, 19:57 | therfl

Statement following the Secretary of State DCMS Update

Statement following the Secretary of State DCMS Update

From RFL CEO Ralph Rimmer

“It was useful to hear directly from the Secretary of State this afternoon on the various announcements made by Government and the Prime Minister in the last 24 hours as they impact on sports. We remain grateful for his time and the work of the DCMS Sports Team.

Today’s call specifically focused on the postponement of the pilot event programme and the plans for socially distanced crowds and the further serious impact this will now have on sports. 

The Secretary of State indicated that the postponement may last throughout the Winter. 

The impact on Rugby League and other sports is profound. 

Rugby League has sadly shelved a much anticipated Ashes series this year, and major finals without crowds looks likely. 

The loan facility provided by Government has been welcomed by the sport. It was predicated on an initial 12 week lockdown. Additionally every club has taken significant steps to reduce costs, and players and staff have taken pay reductions. The sport has reacted quickly and decisively in facing these challenges. Yet it remains likely that with losses at up £2m a week across the sport as a whole, and continued uncertainty, there will be job losses across the sport. 

The Secretary of State is fully aware of the extremely serious economic situation facing sports including Rugby League from being prevented from generating any revenue through ticket sales for over six months now as we face the prospect of further months without this income; as well as managing the continued pressure on all commercial and other partnerships which support sport. We are extremely grateful for the continued forbearance of partners at this time.

Today’s letter to the Prime Minister from over 100 sports emphasises the central role of sport in the nation’s recovery – the social and economic recovery of our communities, and our collective physical and mental health. That’s why it is so vitally important that we continue to make progress with community Rugby League clubs on the phased return to playing community Rugby League.

Rugby League makes an outstanding difference in all these areas. Sports has so much to offer the country as we eventually come out of this crisis. 

But we cannot play these vital roles fully if sports are decimated. There is a very real impact on jobs and investment which harms community clubs and grassroots playing opportunities as well as professional sport.

We continue to reiterate the sector’s absolute commitment to public safety and our shared expertise in managing a safe and controlled return of fans. 

We will continue to work with Government on timelines and look forward clear commitments to protecting the public funding for sport and addressing the very real and continued impact of the losses on our sports.”

Ralph Rimmer

CEO, The RFL