A working group to support Welsh rugby clubs during the coronavirus pandemic has been set up, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) has confirmed.
The WRU cancelled all league and cup competitions this season because of Covid-19, meaning no teams will be promoted or relegated.
The body has introduced cost-cutting measures to help minimise the financial impact of the pandemic, with Wales head coach Wayne Pivac, among others, accepting a 25% pay cut.
However, concerns are growing for local clubs – including Bargoed, Bedwas, Cross Keys and Newbridge – and many others across Wales.
In a letter addressed to the clubs, WRU chairman Gareth Davies said: “We are all in this together and, together, we will see it through.
“It is our collective aim to ensure that Welsh rugby remains intact through this current period of enforced inaction, so that we can pick up again where we left off when the time comes.
“We are doing all we can to make this happen and are grateful for the cooperation of all as we take each necessary step towards achieving this goal.”
The WRU has already made a hardship payment of £1,000 to its 320 member clubs to combat the impact of the crisis.
The working group, which aims to keep clubs clubs updated with the latest developments, will also allow clubs to voice the challenges they are facing.
A WRU statement said: “One of the first recommendations of the working group is to circulate a club impact survey in the weekly information updates provided by the club development team to better understand the specific challenges being faced by each of our clubs.
“The latest club information update issued last Friday (March 27) gave further details of the immediate steps that clubs can take to reduce ongoing costs.
Guidance is also provided on the medium to long-term finance options and cost-saving measures that clubs may wish to consider.”
The statement went on to say the clubs have been given the details on how to apply to local authorities for Welsh Government packages.
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“We continue to work on our financial forecasts, which make clear that the situation is challenging. Should any additional WRU funding be available in the future for clubs, it will be imperative for clubs, in the first instance, to demonstrate that they have exhausted all opportunities to access funding from the various government schemes that have been communicated.
“It should be noted that any future funding would be conditional on this being demonstrated.”
Latest information on Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Most cases of coronavirus (COVID-19) seem to be mild.
Coronavirus is a viral disease that can cause coughing, fever and difficulty breathing. It can be more severe in older people, those with weakened immune systems and some long-term conditions like diabetes or cancer.
Source: Public Health Wales