Clubs to begin applying for loan assistance

The RFL will commence the process of allowing clubs to apply for a part of the £16 million government loan later this week.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport confirmed the bailout last week to safeguard the immediate future of the sport, with some clubs facing financial collapse as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

RFL CEO Ralph Rimmer did not reveal the details of the terms of the loan but confirmed that money would start to be distributed in the coming days, with clubs desperately in need of support.

The money will not be distributed equally amongst clubs, however. Instead, it will be a case-by-case scenario, linked to clubs’ individual circumstances.

Most clubs have been able to benefit from other government schemes and the money will be used to protect clubs who are still facing losses after exhausting all other options.

Leeds Rhinos were among the first clubs to confirm they would be applying for support, although Wakefield chief executive Michael Carter confirmed they would not be applying for help as they would need eventually to pay it back.

Non-English clubs cannot apply, meaning Catalans, Toronto, Toulouse, North Wales and West Wales are not eligible.

“We understand where the interventions are required,” Rimmer said.

“We have a fairly robust formula in place and clubs have to apply. We have to audit stringently and go through government, who require reasonable stewardship as far as they are concerned.”

In a media briefing, Rimmer also confirmed the money was to be used to ensure a safe passage for all clubs through the current pandemic, rather than to help in other areas.