World Rugby provide $276 million tala COVID-19 relief fund

Word Rugby announced details of their COVID-19 relief strategy, including a T$276 million fund to assist unions until the sport can resume.

A release from the body said the fund was “designed to assist the maximum number of unions for the maximum amount of time while there is a rugby void.” 

Samoa and other rugby nations can access immediate emergency funding provided they meet certain criteria.

Tier 1 nations will potentially receive advances and loans from the fund, with support also available for regional associations like Oceania Rugby and emerging nations like the Samoa Rugby Union.

The wealthier unions stand to suffer massive revenue losses through broadcast rights so long as matches cannot be played, and as such will be unable to cover their expenses.

World Rugby’s release also discussed the latest developments regarding the international fixture calendar for this year, with all potential activities subject to the evolving COVID-19 situation worldwide.

They are working with 6 Nations, SANZAAR, individual unions and their domestic leagues, and the International Rugby Players association on what the resumption of the game might look like.

International fixtures are likely to be put on the backburner so that domestic leagues like Super Rugby and the Premiership in England can resume and complete their seasons as soon as possible.

Rugby’s stakeholders are also planning for international rugby without cross-hemisphere travel, and a worst case scenario where no international fixtures can be played in 2020.

The COVID-19-enforced reset of the global rugby calendar has paved the way for potential long-term reform.

Both candidates for next month’s World Rugby chairman election have signalled their desire for realignment of the calendar and more synchronicity in when domestic and international fixtures are played around the world.

As it stands, the leading southern hemisphere club competition Super Rugby is played from January to June when northern hemisphere unions come south on tour, before the Rugby Championship in August and September and a Northern Hemisphere Tour in November.

The 6 Nations competition is played during the European club season, which typically runs from September to June. 

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