Featherstone chief executive Davide Longo has praised the RFL and Ralph Rimmer for delivering £16 million pounds of Government funding to secure the immediate survival of rugby league.
The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic saw the sport suspended indefinitely at the end of March, putting clubs, and the game as a whole, at risk financially.
However, it was confirmed earlier today that the Government will now be injecting £16m into the sport, which will also help to keep rugby league stable ahead of the 2021 World Cup.
In a statement on Rovers’ official club website, Longo said: “All of us in rugby league are focused on the public health emergency. We have lost members of the rugby league family; we have players from the community game who are frontline health workers and professional players who are volunteering in the NHS and other services. The sport has certainly come together and will continue to do so in the fight against this pandemic.
“The news this morning that the COVID-19 response by the RFL in successfully securing 16 million pounds of funding from the government is a significant financial result and will provide a platform to secure the short-term future of the game.
“The Government recognised the importance of rugby league in the many communities they serve and the exceptional measures everyone has taken to reduce costs, leading the government to make an exception for the sport. In doing this, rugby league becomes the first sport to receive such funding from the Government, but it goes without saying, these remain very challenging times for all of us.
“Rugby league can now continue to showcase outstanding sport and continue delivering positive social and economic impacts across our towns and cities through the work of the club foundations with huge credit going towards Ralph Rimmer and his team at the RFL for delivering this significant funding into our game. We are now working on a way to safely resume the sport in the UK.
“During the past few weeks our club focus has been on two successful applications, one for the small business grant and the other application to HMRC for the job retention scheme. These positive applications will ensure the players and staff at Featherstone Rovers will receive their usual salaries, so when we do return our club is prepared and ready to go to continue its great work across the local community. In all of this, our number one priority is the health and safety of our supporters and our employees.
“Over the next week, the Club, alongside the RFL, will be in discussion and working on several different scenario models to accommodate a return to our sport. The survival of this Club is vital and all our members, partners and volunteers are valued supporters to us.
“Suggestions of playing behind closed doors seems to be one way that all spectator sports may resume, and we are looking at potential ways to live stream our games through a Rovers TV day pass subscription if permission is granted. If playing behind closed doors is a way for rugby league to commence, this will be an extremely challenging time for Featherstone Rovers so generating income will be essential to the business. I can assure you that we are working alongside the RFL and doing our best to find the most appropriate solutions for everyone.
“Our most important task now is to work together, wherever we are in the world, to fight the pandemic. The best way according to the authorities is to stay at home. That is an unusual position for us to be in. Our business is about connecting people, providing entertainment for leisure and a competition for our players. That is and will remain our passion.
“Through the 99-year history of Featherstone Rovers, we have learned that we always need to be prepared for the unexpected. Whether it is the forces of nature, changes in the local economy, pandemics or other factors, I know we will get through these challenges as we have before. It is only a matter of time before we enter the field of play again.”
To read the statement in full, click HERE.