World Rugby provides £80m relief fund to support national unions

World Rugby is providing an £80million relief fund to aid national unions during the coronavirus pandemic.

The organisation has called the situation “its greatest challenge” with the cash available for unions needing immediate funding.

For 6 Nations and SANZAAR unions (South Africa, New Zealand and the Australian Rugby Union) the financial package will involve a combination of advances and loans with World Rugby committed to supporting emerging nations and regional associations where required.

World Rugby chairman Sir Bill Beaumont said: “Global sport is facing a crisis never seen before and at this most challenging time we are taking unprecedented action as a sport united to support global rugby, its unions, competitions and players through the enormous challenge presented by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The measures announced today will provide support and short-term relief in the form of a $100 million (£80million) relief fund, while we are making excellent progress towards calendar options that reflect and address a dynamic, complex and uncertain environment.

“I have chaired many productive meetings in recent weeks with my union, region, competition and player colleagues and we are moving rapidly towards a viable calendar solution and, while compromises are being made, the outcome will be in the best interests of the whole game.

“This is a process with solidarity, unity and leadership at heart – one that sets a potential blueprint for successful collaboration in the future and I would like to thank everyone for their openness, cooperation and global view.”

World Rugby is also exploring a way to return to playing and finishing the 2020 international calendar.

This includes likely short-term reshaping of the international rugby calendar and optimising competition opportunities for unions and domestic leagues.