Championship: Covid-hit season under threat, say cash-strapped clubs

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The delayed 2020-21 Championship season has been put at risk with second-tier clubs unhappy about the government’s offer of loans not grants in their Sport Winter Survival package.

But Ampthill have publicly voiced the concerns of a number of clubs in a statement on their club website.

They say they will “potentially not be able” to take their place for 2020-21.

The plan was to split the 12 Championship clubs into two groups of six, playing each other home and away twice ahead of a play-off final.

But Ampthill – who had been placed in a group along with relegated 2018-19 Premiership champions Saracens – say the required Covid testing procedures alone would cost them £120,000.

They are reliant on gate revenue and say they could only seriously contemplate playing the four-month season if they had been awarded a government grant, not a loan.

They have made a plea for ‘crowd funding’external-link and reports elsewhere over the weekend suggest that many of the other Championship clubs feel the same way.

If the Championship season was cancelled, it would impact badly on Saracens, who were hoping for a quick return to the top flight.

Before the first lockdown in March 2020, already cash-strapped Championship clubs were told that their £534,000 central funding from the Rugby Football Union was to be cut to £288,000 per club by the start of the 2022-23 season.



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