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Welsh Rugby Update 20.05.2020

20/05/2020

Welsh Rugby Union CEO Martyn Phillips talks about a part of rugby that accounts for 25 per cent of the world playing population – the women’s game – welcomes new PRB director Marianne Økland and describes the processes behind an upcoming Board review that could release more funds to clubs… and much more in the latest WRU Status Update:

A video conference last week with our women’s performance squad and management left me hugely impressed with the dedication and focus of this whole group to maximise the opportunities presented by the current lockdown situation and ignore its obvious drawbacks.

The players have continued to push both their conditioning and skills development and the group is determined and unerring from one true course, to implement the plan in place to build for the World Cup next year and be ‘ready to go’ once restrictions are lifted.

The Welsh Rugby Union’s strategy to increasingly improve and step-change this element of the game through increased and targeted investment of time, money and resources remains equally unerring and is wholly in line with the ambitions of World Rugby.

We are conscious that 2021 will be a huge year for the women’s game, with the Olympics delayed until that summer there will only be seven weeks between the women’s Olympic Sevens tournament and the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand, these are flagship events and present an ideal opportunity to increase the profile of women’s rugby a further step.

I would also like to add my welcome to Marianne Økland who joins the Professional Rugby Board alongside Amanda Blanc as our second independent non-executive Director. I know Marianne has a passion for rugby and the women’s game in particular. We look forward to the additional leadership she will bring to this important element of the PRB agenda.

We have also been busy working on potential emergency funding options for clubs. As we said at the outset, whilst it can never be guaranteed, our objective is to do all we can to ensure all clubs emerge from the other side of this crisis.

On that note we are grateful to those clubs who have submitted their surveys to help us to understand and scale the issue, although there are still 50 or so clubs that we need to hear from please? We would also like to credit the clubs who have managed to submit applications for the various government and local authority funding schemes and who have or will see the financial benefit of these schemes.

Clearly this area continues to evolve and we are committed to continue to work with our clubs to make the most of the opportunities available. We have a WRU Board meeting on 10 June where we will review the findings from the survey and assess what, if any, additional opportunities we have to provide further funding.

In the interests of transparency that Board review is likely to take the following form:

  • An assessment of the latest WRU financial position in order to determine what, if any, emergency funds can be made available
  • Review of the club survey data that has been returned to help to identify what clubs are most in need of assistance and how might funds be apportioned
  • Priority will be given to clubs who have taken all reasonable self-help measures
  • We will also be looking wherever possible to allocate funds to clubs that have plans in place to safeguard a sustainable future

Clearly the future remains uncertain with little visibility as to when life will return to a new normal. With that in mind, we will be doing all we can to make funds available and to do our utmost to tailor funding to the areas where it can be of most impact. In addition we will continue to monitor government support packages and continue to provide ongoing advice and support.

In the meantime please stay safe.

Martyn Phillips, WRU CEO

We will be doing all we can to make funds available and to do our utmost to tailor funding to the areas where it can be of most impact...
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