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Government provides £16m cash injection to secure future of Rugby League

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THE Government has announced a £16million cash injection to safeguard the immediate future of Rugby League for the communities it serves.

The emergency loan to the Rugby Football League will help the sport deal with the extreme financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak while the season remains suspended, due to social distancing measures.
It comes ahead of England hosting the Rugby League World Cup next year, which will see the men’s, women’s and wheelchair games come together for a world first on the sport’s biggest stage.
The Government’s manifesto included a commitment to delivering a successful tournament, with significant financial support already provided.

Super League Executive Chairman Robert Elstone said “Arriving at the most challenging time in our 125-year history, this is critical and invaluable support.
“For many people, particularly in the north of England, rugby league is more than a sport: our Clubs are key employers and play an essential role in local economies; they are also vital social hubs where families bond and communities stand proudly together.
“This pledge by the Government is indicative of the unique role Super League Clubs play in those communities.
“Throughout this pandemic, Super League and the governing body, The RFL, have been united in consistently putting forward that message, and we are delighted it has been heard loud and clear at such an important time. The Game is grateful that the Government has backed up promises it made to the north of the England at the General Election.
“Super League has had to make many difficult decisions over the past few weeks responding to the outbreak of COVID-19. Clearly those decisions were exacerbated by the absence of any clarity on what lies ahead. This news will alleviate some of those concerns and provide much-needed certainty about the future.
“Super League would like to acknowledge the tireless work of the RFL in securing such vital support.
“Make no mistake, a challenging period still lies ahead and public safety and the protection of our communities remains our priority.
“But, at a tough time, the Game has had a good day – we can now look forward, with more confidence, while we continue to play our part in the country’s recovery.”

Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said: “This is a massive shot in the arm to secure the survival of Rugby League.
“We recognise that many RFL clubs operate on very tight financial margins.
“Without their ability to stage matches with spectators and despite the Government’s extensive economic package, the professional game has come very close to collapsing.
“From my first sports visit as Secretary of State to Leigh Centurions, I could see how important these clubs are to the communities they serve. They are the beating heart of their towns and cities, and their impact goes far beyond what happens on the pitch.
“Sports across the board are facing unprecedented pressures, and we are supporting them through wider Government measures.
“In this case we are intervening as an exception, not to save an individual business or organisation, but to protect an entire sport, the community it supports, the World Cup held here next year and its legacy for generations to come.”

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Experienced journalist for more than 35 years. Managing Director of magazine publishing group with six in-house titles and on-line daily newspaper for Warrington. Experienced writer, photographer, PR consultant and media expert having written for local, regional and national newspapers. Specialties: PR, media, social networking, photographer, networking, advertising, sales, media crisis management. Patron Tim Parry Johnathan Ball Foundation for Peace. Trustee Warrington Disability Partnership. Former Chairman of Warrington Town FC.

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