RFU and coronavirus creating 'perfect storm' for clubs, says Coventry Rugby chairman
Jon Sharp: "Every club in this league is threatened financially and the survival of some is in doubt"; RFU says it is "working through implications of ending season early"
Last Updated: 23/03/20 11:08am
Coventry Rugby executive chairman Jon Sharp says "draconian" Rugby Football Union (RFU) cuts coupled with the coronavirus pandemic have created a "perfect storm", threatening the survival of clubs in the Championship.
After causing widespread fury among clubs last month following its decision to halve payments to Championship clubs next season, the RFU has now brought the rugby season to a close in every division below the Premiership due to the coronavirus pandemic.
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Coventry were fourth in the Championship but must now also contend with the majority of their shared-use facilities being shut down as part of a Government response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
"We're going to have to make some bigger cuts," Sharp told Sky Sports News.
"But make no mistake that every club in the Championship - plus other clubs right across the country, but in the Championship in particular - following on the back of those RFU cuts, every club in this league is threatened financially and the survival of some is in doubt.
"The whole of our revenue streams are [also] now stopped.
"That's not only the matchday revenue but we have a brand new 5G artificial pitch - we can't use that because schools, communities, universities and other sporting clubs that regularly play on that pitch now can't use it.
"And our facilities are closed, conferences, weddings and wakes and all of that - it's a perfect storm. A perfect storm that's happening on the back of the already draconian cuts that the RFU have announced and we're just having to cope with that."
The RFU said in a statement given to Sky Sports News that they are continuing to work to ensure fair and balanced outcomes for the game.
"We are working through the implications of ending the season early and have instigated a thorough process to ensure fair and balanced outcomes for the game," a statement from the governing body read.
"We will communicate these outcomes by the middle of April. While we would like to provide all the answers now, we need some time to get it right for the best interests of the game."
Coventry's chairman says he feels his club has been left high and dry by a lack of financial help from the RFU, pointing to the contrast in the assistance received by Scottish and Welsh clubs from authorities.
"I do want to point out a couple of things," Sharp added.
"We have yet no offer of any assistance by the RFU, whereas the WRU (Welsh Rugby Union) and the SRU (Scottish Rugby Union) - Wales and Scotland respectively - have already stated that they will be paying their clubs out."