•  committee@hantsrefs.org.uk

Hampshire Rugby Update

File for download: Hampshire RFU Update July 2020

To all Hampshire RFU Clubs

24th July 2020

We hope that everyone in your club is safe and well and thank you for your support over the past few difficult months.

As you know, we liaised with you closely in the early stages of the Covid pandemic to ensure you were able to access the appropriate funding from various agencies and we are very pleased that so many clubs were successful in obtaining either rates support or grants. Most of our clubs took the view that they had mothballed the club successfully and support would most likely be required from the HRFU/RFU fund when we are returning to play or utilising our facilities again. We hope you found the Covid pack supplied to clubs by HRFU useful as a starter to ensuring your facilities are safe and accessible.

Return to Rugby

We know there is a lot of frustration out in the community clubs with the desire to move from phase B to C on the Return to Rugby(RTR) Roadmap and thought it would be helpful to set out the process the RFU has to go through to accelerate the return to play.

The following links set out the process that Public Health England (PHE) require the sport to provide following the announcement 2 weeks ago of the return to play guidelines.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on- phased-return-of-sport-and-recreation/return-to-recreational-team-sport-framework

https://blogs.bmj.com/bjsm/2020/07/01/a-team-sport-risk-exposure-framework-to- support-the-return-to-sport/

The RFU is in the final stages of providing PHE with the action plan and hopes soon to be able to move further along the roadmap to the next phase. The Return to Play Roadmap is the only guide clubs and coaches should follow until we reach Phase E and then and only then will we move to the possibility of contact XV-a-side matches. In the short term it is more likely that we will be able to play non-contact Rugby, as there is still considerable concern over the risk of Face to face (F2F) contact in both training and playing.

It seems that some clubs are using Social Media to post their return to play and it would sometimes appear by the post photos or wording that they are not following the guidelines..

The RFU have recently tweeted-

We have received a number of reports of clubs not training within RFU guidance + in breach of government policy. As a Reminder to all coaches & club officials, we are currently at Stage B on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap.

The RFU could use Regulation 5:12 to discipline clubs and/or for bringing the game into disrepute, something none of us wants to see happen.

Also if an injury occurs and the current phase regulations are being broken, then there may be some doubt as to whether the insurers will honour the claim.

For clarity, when we reach Phase E on the roadmap there will be at least a 4-5 week gap before any clubs can play another club. Match play at Phase E is just intra club matches.

Once we reach Phase E we will know which models of those supplied by the RFU we will be using (see both below) This is for Adult and Age Grade rugby. If there are any amendments to these following the proposal to PHE, clubs will be advised directly by the Community Game Update (CGU).

Please note we do not know the start of the Age Grade season yet – it will NOT be the first weekend in September, so would advise all clubs to follow the RTR roadmap guidance and not the out of season Age Grade guidance.

Once we are on Phase F , the pre circulated rugby models will kick into place. Before we reach Phase F they are irrelevant and it’s only the Return to Rugby Road map that should be adhered to.

Funding

The most recent CGU advised clubs and HRFU of the challenges the RFU is facing with significant projected losses in season 20/21 and possibly the next few seasons beyond. HRFU receives a grant to support rugby development and programmes and we have been advised that this will only amount to 30% of last year’s figure, sufficient to cover admin costs but with little left to support our traditional development work.

The HRFU Board met on Wednesday (virtually) and agreed that IOW travel should be a priority and it is our intention to part-fund clubs travelling to/from the IOW by using HRFU reserves but this may not be at the same level as last year’s funding. This very much depends on when we return to play and the number of matches to be played.

We will continue to support the Club Hampshire age-grade teams as the RFU has provided a separate fund for this purpose but again, until we receive a Return to Rugby date it is difficult to quantify what that programme will deliver.

HRFU is holding a club support fund which is made up of equal contributions from the RFU and HRFU reserves and we will be talking to clubs as to their specific needs and how we may be able to help. We have also provided grant funding to 15 clubs for pitch improvements this summer, we just need to be able to get out and play on them!!!

Furthermore, HRFU has reduced the club subscription by 50% to assist our clubs which we hope will help with club finances.

RFU Staff

Our RDO and CRC support team have been on furlough since late March and now have the increased anxiety of a staff review being carried out by the RFU. There have been announcements of significant redundancies and this may well impact on our excellent field staff in Hampshire. At the moment this is a confidential process, requiring consultation and due process and it would be wrong to speculate on the outcome. It is a worrying time for all of us in Hampshire Rugby so all we can do is wish our staff well and hope that there is a successful outcome for them and us. No decisions have been taken on individuals or individual roles and are unlikely to be finalised before the end of August.

Dr. E. Neville – HRFU Board Chairman
Terry Burwell – RFU Council Representative
Julie Greenslade – HRFU Executive Director