Earlier in the year, the RFU had already made the controversial decision to cut funding by just under half, from around £550,000 to £288,000, leading to outcry among the Championship clubs. However, the respected rugby broadcaster Sam Roberts revealed on social media late on Tuesday night that funding will is now likely to drop to as little as just £40,000, immediately plunging the future of many Championships clubs’, and their full-time staff and squads, in further doubt.
The decision to make the fresh cuts is apparently a result of the loss of revenue from the cancellation of this year’s planned autumn internationals and because the newly created Autumn Nations Cup (and, perhaps, next years Six Nations) will not be played in front of spectators, with RFU boss Bill Sweeney quoted as saying: ‘With no fans this autumn we’ll see a £122m reduction in revenue resulting in a loss of £46m and with no fans for the Six Nations we’ll see a £138m reduction in revenue with a loss of £60m, thereby preventing investment in areas such as women’s elite game and community rugby.
‘Our community rugby clubs, many of which run grounds at the heart of their communities are under threat,’ Sweeney added. ‘Without crowds and league games community rugby will lose an estimated £86m in revenue this season.Without support we are in danger of clubs at the heart of communities across England, as well as players and volunteers, disappearing forever.’
Reds Chairman Mark Morgan was unavailable for comment.