Rugby club London Scottish have confirmed that they will be forfeiting their season by rejecting the Government’s Sports Winter Package in an attempt to protect the long-term financial stability of the club.
The 2021 Championship would have been played in a reduced capacity, with Scottish facing ten games, including two against newly relegated Saracens.
The package would have seen the club offered a ten-year Government loan, something that London Scottish believed would threaten their financial stability.
The board had been working to a three-year plan, which had the aim to move the club to a sustainable future, after years of annual deficits.
Scottish were still on track with this plan, despite the funding cuts to the RFU which forced them to transition to part-time.
Club Chairman Malcolm Offord said, “Director of Rugby, Matt Williams, has put together a great squad for this season and we are all bitterly disappointed that we won’t get the chance to see them play.
“We must put the long-term sustainable future of the club first for the benefit of our members, staff, shareholders, sponsors and supporters.”
The arrival of COVID has caused further cuts to central funding and shut down all regular commercial activity, meaning no income for 12 months.
London Scottish’s chairman then went on to later add, “Unfortunately, we have been offered loans, not grants, to help us survive COVID.
“Much as we all desperately wish to see London Scottish competing on the pitch, we do not believe the solution to short-term losses is taking on long term loans.”
All players will remain on furlough under their current contracts with the rugby team, and the club will be looking for ways to assist them with their next moves.
The club was also concerned that the ten fixtures currently slated could also be postponed due to COVID, with very little prior notice, as this has already ravaged the sports world.
It is also very unlikely that London Scottish would be able to welcome fans back to their games this season, and they are a key source of matchday revenue.
The cancellation of National League 1 means that London Scottish will not be relegated.
Featured image credit: London Scottish