Rosslyn Park struggles answered by Government sports funding package

The Government have announced their sports funding package which will aim to support sports during the coronavirus pandemic. 

On Thursday 19th November it was announced that sport would receive £300 million of funding, of which almost half (£135 million) will go to rugby union.

The £135 million will be split into sections, with £44 million going to the RFU, £59 million going to the Gallagher Premiership clubs, £9 million going to the Championship clubs and the remaining £23 million going to the clubs below the Championship.

One of these clubs, Rosslyn Park, whose men compete in National Division One and women in NC South East West 1 may be able to benefit from this new Government fund.

Managing director at Rosslyn Park Dom Shabbo said: “No detail has been given out yet that I’ve seen on how funding will be allocated and whether it will be a loan or a grant.

“It sounds like they’re low interest loans so from my understanding the funding is to keep the clubs alive this season.”

In order to receive the money, clubs will have to apply and make a case for why they need the money to UK Sport, who will then sort the funding to ensure the clubs who need it most will receive it.

Shabbo added: “I know it needs to be applied for and it needs to be justified against certain criteria which will be defined as it’s not guaranteed that each club receives money.

“Once those measures have been stipulated then we will work out whether or not it works for the club.

“We’ll have to look into the detail and how this funding will be distributed and what form it comes in and then we’ll look into whether it is the right thing for the club to apply or not.”

Shabbo insisted that Rosslyn Park were coping financially and that whilst it is not thriving, it is surviving, mainly thanks to the support of the members of the club.

He added: “From what I have heard the funding is to help the clubs survive at all levels. 

“As and when the details are announced, we’ll be able to look into what we might be able to do to help other sections of the club and what sections of the club we’ll be able to help with that.”

With rugby being given such a large sum of the money, it is clear that it was in desperate need for help to stay afloat, and this did not apply solely to clubs.

Shabbo said: “It is clear that rugby has been one of the hardest hit sports due to the nature of it especially at the community end of the game. We have not been able to play the actual format that we would like. 

“Lower league football have been given the green light and have had some fans in I believe and they have got going sooner.

“It definitely reflects where rugby is. The RFU are receiving 44 million which I think shows exactly where they are and the effect that Covid is having on the RFU. 

“There is also the lack of spectators into the Premiership grounds and the large wage bills they have, so predominately that will be looking to top that end of the game up at the moment.

“The 23 million will definitely help at the community end but as I said we don’t yet know how that will be given.

“But at the top end of the game it is definitely much needed by the fact that the RFU have the autumn internationals and the premiership clubs have the season to play without spectators which is obviously a vital revenue stream for them.”

There was more positive news for Rosslyn Park too as it was announced that a National League Cup competition will be played between all clubs in National League One and Two in the New Year, with the final being held at Twickenham. 

Shabbo said: “This is again positive news, rugby is going to be played this season.

“Don’t get me wrong from a Rosslyn Park perspective there is no denying that we would have preferred a league season but that was not to be so we will be making plans to do as well as we can in this cup competition.”

You can read more about Rosslyn Park’s reaction to their season being left in limbo here.

Photo credit:  Isabelle Lovell

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