Further update from RFU regarding COVID-19

Further update from RFU regarding COVID-19

By Richard Pepperell
20 March 2020
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Messages from the Chairman and President - SEASON ENDS

Below are messages from the Chairman and the President of Stratford RFC and finally the full statement from the RFU

Message from the Chairman Tom Rance

The RFU have provided an update to the messages we published toward the start of the week regarding COVID19 and the state of play.
I quote;
“In order to provide clarity and to assist with immediate and longer term planning, the RFU is today announcing the end of the 2019/20 rugby season for all league, cup and county rugby in England. The only exception to this is the Gallagher Premiership, who we are in active discussions with to review possible best next steps.”
So in short, your season, whichever your team, is now complete. As hard as that is to write because of the unknown implications, I also want to share some thoughts and echo some messages from our President Max Holloway.
Firstly, we will celebrate the successes of the club this season. Maybe not in the next few weeks or months, but we will celebrate it, that I can promise you.
At the start of this season, Max and I met with Richard Pepperell and we spoke, frankly about what a successful season would look like. We spoke about enjoyment, regular fixtures, reigniting the Stratty spirit and sharing our love for the game across the entire club, Mini and Juniors and the Ladies section. We wanted to continue to encompass the #oneclub mentality.
Watching you play last season was tough. But this season was very very different. You went about things cohesively, pulled on the knowledge of the new coaches and captains and produced results when others hid from the elements.
I’d therefore like to thank you all for your efforts in making our club the place to be. You have been exceptional, to a man. There are a few I’d like to single out.
Richard Pepperell, Liam Jones, Daniel Careless, Sam Kirby, Mark Hibberd, Elliot Smith, Andy Hope, Jon Taz Tarrant
Thank you for designing this successful season and leading by example. I respect your individual sacrifices and look forwarding to seeing it again come September.
Matthew Cook, Nath Geekie, Arron Kennedy, Neil Truscott
You led the way.
Alex Ballantine
Thanks for keeping my hand in the discipline process. I’d be lost without one of those a season ?.
Within the next 4 weeks we will learn of our place next season. But just remember, wherever it is, enjoy it, don’t wish you were elsewhere.
As soon as we know how this looks I will let you know.
Lastly, Max thanked the committee for keeping us moving. I’d like to echo this. Times have been tough and you have been protected by an outstanding group of volunteers.
Stay safe and I look forward to seeing you all soon.

From the president Max Holloway
Good morning Gents

Please see communication from the RFU stating the end of the 2019/20.

A sad end to a great season for Stratford Upon Avon RFC which bounced back from the challenges of 2018/19.

Can I take this opportunity to thank you all for all of your support and help throughout the season, all of which is reflected on where the club is with two strong senior men’s teams both at the top of their respective league and cup competitions, a thriving ladies section and of course the ever growing and successful mini and junior section steered by Tom and his team. Well done to Richard Pepperell for overseeing all senior rugby and getting our wonderful club back to its best. A big thank you to Ali Prentice for arranging and rearranging and even more rearranging of fixtures ensuring where possible games went ahead.

Lastly, thank you to John Martin for reviving the VP’s (in many ways!) to the strongest numbers seen for many years, a hugely successful VP dinner and the detailed weekly chronicles. Thank you John.

Please all take care in this truly testing time and heed of the government advice to stay safe.

I look forward to working alongside you all for the 2020/21 season.

Kind regards,


The full message from the RFU

Message from RFU Chief Executive Bill Sweeney

My thoughts and those of all of us at the RFU are with everyone impacted by COVID-19 as well as recent flooding events, both across the country at large but also within our own rugby union community.

In order to provide clarity and to assist with immediate and longer term planning, the RFU is today announcing the end of the 2019/20 rugby season for all league, cup and county rugby in England. The only exception to this is the Gallagher Premiership, who we are in active discussions with to review possible best next steps.

When current government advice on social distancing measures changes, we will naturally encourage rugby training and friendlies to recommence.

I would like to personally thank everyone for their swift actions in suspending rugby activity, this is not an easy time and I know many of you will have concerns that go beyond 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. 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. Rest assured we are working on this as a priority and we will continue to send weekly updates to clubs.

The three areas of focus for the RFU right now are Welfare, Implications and Reboot.


We are ensuring colleagues and communities are given support to follow government advice and are providing recommendations on how to stay fit and healthy using individual training programmes. We are also talking to government about how we can deploy and mobilise our own resources across England to support the vulnerable.


Every union is different, with unique structures and challenges and the RFU needs to manage its own particular complexities. Our business model is similar to most rugby clubs - we earn revenue from events on and off the field and we invest that back into the game. We benefit from strong Twickenham Stadium revenues but we are also exposed if there is widespread cancellation of games and events.

In this extraordinary situation we are working through a range of potential financial scenarios dependent mainly on the length of this crisis. This was already budgeted to be a loss making year within a 4 year cycle due to the costs of the 2019 RWC campaign and only hosting two home Six Nations games. The loss will now be considerably more as we face challenges similar to businesses across the entire country. There may well also be much longer term financial implications which we are assessing now. It is therefore taking us some time to develop a considered position on how we can support clubs and the rugby community, which we will do.

We have already undertaken financial measures to safeguard the business enabling us to review all options and programmes to provide support for clubs in these difficult times.

We welcome the measures announced by Government which could provide crucial support to professional and community clubs and the RFU. We are in regular contact with Sport England and The Sport and Recreation Alliance to understand how business rate relief and hardship funds can be accessed by clubs and will be providing assistance to make sure every club who is eligible will be supported.

The implications for all areas of rugby will be thoroughly worked through and solutions discussed and developed with the clubs.


Our welfare advice before the start of next season will switch to offering guidance on how players at all levels can reboot and get match ready.

We will work closely with constituent bodies to support clubs, competition organisers and the wider rugby community in preparing to re-start rugby in what is likely to be a challenging environment.

In recent days we have all been inspired by the many stories across the rugby family working together to support those who are the most vulnerable in their community – this encapsulates the unique spirit of rugby. I am confident that this spirit and resilience during these tough times will ensure we will come through this together and emerge stronger.

Take care and stay safe,

Bill Sweeney

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