Rugby clubs across Caerphilly County Borough continue to face an uncertain future with the season cancelled and income all but dried up.
The Welsh Rugby Union ended the club season in March and although there is hope Wales’ professional regions may return to action in August, return to normal appears further away for clubs.
Semi-professional clubs like Bedwas, Cross Keys and Bargoed have the added consideration of paying players as A License clubs.
The coronavirus lockdown came shortly after Bedwas and Cross Keys were badly impacted by the February flooding.
Will Rees, Director of Bedwas RFC, told Caerphilly Observer: “Just as we were getting back to a position where we could operate fully again, lockdown crept into view.
“We are a non-profit organisation and we support various teams from junior level through to our first team, all of which cost money to run.”
Like many clubs, Bedwas rely heavily on income from events this time of year, from weddings and gigs, to their outdoor music festival Bedwas Rocks.
Welsh clubs have been able to access funding through the Welsh Government’s Economic Resilience Fund and its business support grant for charities. However, there are concerns that this funding will not completely cover clubs’ overhead costs if the lockdown continues for a significant period of time.
Rees continued: “We would much rather be trading than relying on handouts. Match days are our biggest earners for the club and they really help when we head into the tail-end of the season.
“There is also a concern about the wider economic impact and how soon we will be able to attract sponsorship again.
- Free flu jabs for over-50s in Wales
- Christmas coronavirus rules: Three households can bubble for five days
- Pupil wins school Black History Month competition
- Wales ready to roll out potential vaccines from December 1
- Face masks to be made compulsory in all schools in Wales
- Appeal after attempted garage burglary
“The good news is that the community’s support through the flooding means we will have amazing new facilities here when we reopen. We can then continue to offer an affordable venue for events and return to being a social hub for all our members.”
In a statement addressing Welsh clubs, WRU Chairman Gareth Davies, said: ‘Our stated ambition at the start of this crisis was to bring all of our clubs with us and to meet everyone again on the other side.
“We issued a payment to our clubs of £1,000 each in March from a hardship fund designed to help combat the effects of the current crisis, this was on top of specific funding to clubs which had been affected be the recent flooding issues after Storm Dennis, and our regular quarterly audit payment to clubs was made as normal at the end of April.”
Following a survey of clubs nationwide, the WRU predicts that most of its clubs will continue to be sustainable for the next six months.
Stay informed with quality, independent, local journalism…that matters
We believe the public should be informed about their community, coherently and with context. However, running a professional news service comes at a financial cost.
We are asking readers for their support to help us develop and grow our service.
Our membership costs from just £3 a month and in return, you can use our website without adverts.
Become a member – cancel anytime