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World Rugby announces US$100 million global relief package

World Rugby announces US$100 million global relief package
April 17, 2020

World Rugby has announced that it has established a US$100 million relief fund to aid the sport as it deals with the Coronavirus crisis.

The package will see funds made available immediately to any union requiring emergency funding. For Sanzaar nations (Argentina, Australia, New Zealand South Africa) and Six Nations unions (England, France, Ireland, Italy, Scotland and Wales) the financial package will involve a combination of advances on rights fee payments and loans.

A statement from World Rugby advised that the body is “also committed to supporting emergency nations and regional associations where required”.

Rugby has been severely affected by the pandemic, with USA Rugby filing for bankruptcy last month while New Zealand Rugby and Rugby Australia have undertaken drastic cost-saving measures.

In its statement, World Rugby described the crisis as the sport’s “greatest challenge”.

One of the major issues has been the rearrangement of the calendar, with international competitions such as the Rugby Championship, Six Nations and the October/November Test matches between Sanzaar and Six Nations countries among the sport’s biggest revenue drivers. World Rugby has said it is exploring options for restarting the sport, but among its contingencies is the possibility that no international rugby will be feasible until 2021.

World Rugby Chief Executive Brett Gosper recently said it may still be possible to schedule international rugby matches this November, although it appears increasingly likely that Northern Hemisphere countries’ summer tours of Southern Hemisphere nations will have to be cancelled because of the pandemic.

Commenting on the situation, World Rugby Chairman, Sir Bill Beaumont advised “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 announced today will provide support and short-term relief in the form of a $100m relief fund, while we are committed to exploring calendar options that reflect and address a dynamic, complex and uncertain environment.”

Earlier this week, Beaumont outlined his pledge to undertake a major governance review of World Rugby if he is re-elected next month.

The vote will take place digitally, with Beaumont running against his former close ally and current World Rugby Vice-Chairman Agustin Pichot.

Image: Sir Bill Beaumont, World Rugby Chairman at the 2019 Rugby World Cup Japan. Courtesy of Rugby World Cup Japan.

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