June 17, 2020 / 6:26 PM / 2 months ago

Rugby: WRU seeks loan to recover from coronavirus crisis

(Reuters) - The Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) is working on securing a loan that will help keep the professional game alive in Wales as it recovers from the financial shock of the COVID-19 pandemic, the governing body said on Wednesday.

Last week, WRU chairman Gareth Davies said the effect of coronavirus has been “catastrophic”, with the governing body projecting a loss of 50 million pounds ($62.72 million) in revenue if there is no more international rugby played this year.

To combat these uncertain circumstances, the WRU is exploring options for a fresh round of borrowing, much of which will be passed on to its four professional regions - Cardiff Blues, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets.

"Given the financial shock of this pandemic the only solution is to increase our borrowing," WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips said here . "We are in discussions with a range of institutions to assess our options.

“Much of the loan will be onward lent, to Welsh rugby’s four professional regions.

“The professional game will bear the responsibility for servicing the loan, but will also benefit from any bounce back of any financial revenue over performance in future years.”

Phillips confirmed the funding of the community game in Wales is ringfenced, while options to restart the Welsh Premiership are being explored.

The professional players in Wales took a temporary 25% pay cut early in the lockdown after the Professional Rugby Board (PRB) reached an agreement with the Welsh Rugby Players’ Association (WRPA).

Philips said those terms are now being re-evaluated.

“There is a requirement for continued dialogue over the next few weeks to explore options and land on a way forward that works for all parties,” he added. “I’m sure we can achieve this together.”

Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Toby Davis

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