The Rugby Football Leagues chief executive, Ralph Rimmer, has warned clubs that the sports £16m emergency loan issued by the government is not to be seen as a “gravy train”, as he set out the conditions for how the money will be distributed to ensure the games long-term future remains intact.
Clubs from across the professional game are expected to apply for much-needed funding, with Ralph Rimmer admitting many faced an uncertain future without the governments help. The Guardian understands funding will be distributed based on projected revenue forecasts that were submitted to the RFL before the season began, rather than every club simply receiving the same amount, and Ralph Rimmer stressed they will not simply be issuing cash to clubs without good reason.
“Its certainly not a gravy train; there are conditions attached to this money and well use it wisely to steer ourselves into a better place,” Ralph Rimmer said. “We have to make this last as long as we can. The sport took some drastic measures to cut its cloth when lockdown began, and none of those measured should be backtracked as a result of this. Its not about dropping a lump sum in a clubs bank account and telling them to carry on as normal: we have to be far more meticulous.”
Rimmer confirmed the sports professional clubs will receive the majority of the money, with the community game instead set to benefit from other initiatives with the likes of Sport England. Overseas clubs such as the Super League sides Catalans and Toronto, however, are not eligible to receive a share.
“Weve done some modelling on where we think the interventions will be required,” Rimmer said. “There will be some clubs that will require far more support than others, and we will use the money to get the collective through and use it responsibly.”
Rimmer admitted dialogue would continue between the government and the RFL in terms of further funding and revealed the sport has started to put modelling in place for a potential resumption of the domestic season, which could include playing multiple games in single venues behind closed doors.
Clubs are eyeing a return in either June or July, and Rimmer said: “There is the possibility of playing a number of games at one particular venue in terms of how we re-emerge in the first instance. We have to keep our clubs solvent and finish with some finals and big events, and there are several different models available to us.”