Further to the announcement on October 30th regarding the cancellation of the 2020/21 competitive rugby season for levels 3 and below of the English leagues, and the commencement of Premiership rugby from the weekend of the 21st November, there has been much speculation about the way forward for the Greene King IPA Championship.
The Championship is considered a professional league and is a part of the Elite game in England, together with the Premiership and the women’s Allianz Premier 15s league. As such, it is allowed to function during the UK government’s “lockdown” period that began on November 5th.
However, with clubs having little or no earning power for the past eight months, their individual financial status does not allow them to meet the costs of the Covid-19 testing that is required, particularly given the prospect of receiving no income from match-day crowds.
The report, in The Times (5th November – see below), of potential government support funding, whilst awaiting further detail, is very welcome. However, time is passing and urgent decision-making is paramount.
It remains the desire and intention of the Greene King IPA Championship clubs to commence the 2020/21 league season in January 2021, subsequent to a required period of pre-season training and game preparation time.
Much discussion and preparation is being undertaken between the clubs, in conjunction with the RFU, with a view to playing a meaningful league programme but the detail of those discussions must, of necessity, remain confidential and any public debate is, for the present, mere speculation.
The Championship clubs will continue to work closely with the RFU to explore a financially-viable route forward for all clubs, and will make decisions and announcements accordingly.