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“We’re probably about 25 million [in hock],”: Ralph Rimmer

09 Sep 22, 8:23PM 0 Comments

Written by John Davidson

Photo by RFL

Rugby Football League CEO Ralph Rimmer has revealed that the sport owes £25 million in loans to the Government from financial assistance it received during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The RFL received a £16 million cash injection to save the immediate future of the sport and its clubs in the UK in May 2020, in the early days of when Coronavirus hit and the season was completely shut down. It was then handed a further £12 million in November 2020 as part of the Government’s ‘Sport Winter Survival Package’.

Parts of those loans have gone to the 10 English clubs in Super League, as well as sides in the Championship and League.

The RFL has not publicly confirmed how much each club was given, but it is believed some of the bigger Super League outfits received £1.5 million to £2.5 million pounds in support, while the smaller clubs were handed between £1 million and £500,000 each.

Clubs in the second and third tiers were also able to apply to access the loan money, but not all did. Everything Rugby League understands the money was given out based on a measurement of loss of income on ticket sales, hospitality and external events suffered due to the pandemic.

English rugby union is currently embroiled in a financial crisis, with reports that its ppppppppppp clubs are more than £500 million in total in the red. The survival of Worcester Warriors is now in question, with each of the Premiership clubs believed to have received an eight-figure loan from the government during the pandemic.

Rimmer has admitted to the BBC that the government loans to rugby league “will be a burden”, but stressed the RFL and clubs only asked for what was needed.

“We’re probably about 25 million [in hock],” he told the BBC.

“All loans are a burden, that’s true. But when you see some of the figures in other sports… Our processes are strong, our governance is strong.

“It’s one of the reasons why we could access the funds in the first instance.

“The figures for those loans were produced through evidence in need. We’re close to all our clubs, we know exactly what Covid cost them, we could evidence that and therefore clubs were loaned what was required to get them over.

“Yes, they will be a burden. And even more so at this moment in time because of all the additional pressures that have suddenly become apparent in our communities – cost of living, energy etc.

“They will be difficult. But nevertheless they saved the clubs.

“We’ll continue to speak to government and government are very aware of the pressures our clubs and others are under as well.”

It is believed the RFL and clubs have 10 years to pay back the money, with little interest attached as a condition of the loans.

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