World Rugby announces USD100M virus relief plan

LONDON (AFP) – World Rugby on Thursday announced details of a USD100 million COVID-19 relief package aimed at supporting the global game and mitigating the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the sport.

A statement from the global governing body said the strategy reflected its commitment to leading the sport through its “greatest challenge”.

The relief fund will be available for unions requiring immediate emergency funding. It is designed to help the maximum number of unions for the maximum amount of time while there is no rugby.

For Six Nations and SANZAAR unions, the financial package will potentially involve a combination of advances and loans.

World Rugby said it was also committed to supporting emerging nations and regional associations.

Rugby chiefs are considering a variety of plans for how rugby can resume, including likely short-term reshaping of the international rugby calendar.

World Rugby Chairman Bill Beaumont said, “Global sport is facing a crisis never seen before and at this most challenging time we are taking unprecedented action as a sport united to support global rugby, its unions, competitions and players through the enormous challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The measures will provide support and short-term relief in the form of a USD100 million relief fund, while we are committed to exploring calendar options that reflect and address a dynamic, complex and uncertain environment.”

England rugby bosses said they welcomed the plan.

“The Rugby Football Union is projecting significant losses to revenue and we welcome all support from UK government and international federations to help sustain the game across England and the rest of the world,” it said in a statement.