After the announcement that trials for spectators to return to sporting events from 1 October would now be cancelled because of a rise in coronavirus cases, it could be a number of months before fans return to stadiums. The COVID-19 alert level has moved to 4, meaning transmission is "high or rising exponentially."
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Although the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has said the plans to allow spectators into sporting events will be kept under review, the RFU chief executive officer has outlined the potential impact on the game.
“We understand the difficult balance government faces in controlling the spread of the virus while enabling parts of society and the economy to remain open. We all need to follow the advice given and play our part in helping to get the virus under control. No crowds at Twickenham for the Autumn Quilter Internationals, the Premiership in October or the Championship and community game will however have severe consequences for the sport in England across all levels.
"With no fans this autumn we will see a £122m reduction in revenue resulting in a loss of £46m and with no fans for the Guinness Six Nations we will see a £138m reduction in revenue with a loss of £60m thereby preventing investment in areas such as the women’s elite game and community rugby.
"Premiership and Championship Clubs will face significant financial hardship. Our community rugby clubs, many of which run grounds at the heart of their communities are under threat. Without crowds and league games community rugby will lose an estimated £86m in revenue this season.
"The RFU has already made difficult decisions in significantly reducing our 7s programme, reducing investment across all areas of the game, implementing salary reductions and making 140 people redundant. All of these decisions will have a significant and lasting impact on rugby.
"From the outset we have been clear that an autumn without crowds would leave us with little choice but to approach government for financial help. Unfortunately, we are now in that position. Without support we are in danger of clubs at the heart of communities across England, as well as players and volunteers, disappearing forever.
The original article can be found here.