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Rugby: English clubs in conflict with the government over the repayment of €175 million in “Covid-19 loans”

The Covid-19 health crisis has put English rugby in a financial situation.

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Rugby: English clubs in conflict with the government over the repayment of €175 million in “Covid-19 loans”

The Covid-19 health crisis has put English rugby in a financial situation. Three emblematic elite clubs (Wasps, London Irish and Worcester) have been forced to file for bankruptcy a year and a half ago and the Premiership - until now the stronghold of European rugby - now only has ten clubs. And the problems are far from being resolved for the English teams since the loans granted by the British government to overcome the crisis are coming due and the clubs must now evacuate the first payments which amount to more than 175 million euros ( 150 M£), as revealed by the Daily Mail. Some clubs would like the reimbursement date to be postponed.

The British government would, according to our colleagues, be inclined to spread out these reimbursements a little but, at the same time, for the clubs to present serious financial guarantees, particularly in terms of solvency. According to the Daily Mail, these conditions would be even stricter for the most financially powerful clubs, in particular thanks to patron presidents. A condition which is not to the taste of Premiership Rugby Limited, the English league.

The cumulative losses of Premiership clubs are estimated at 340 million euros over the last six years. The English economic model is currently in great pain, with the best elements crossing the Channel to join the Top 14 (Owen Farrell, Top 14: Bayonne formalizes the arrival of English center Manu Tuilagi, Billy Vunipola, Courtney Lawes...). In free fall, the three sources of income (TV rights, ticketing and sponsorship) were no longer able to cushion salaries that had long been overvalued, despite a salary cap lower than in France. There are now four fewer matches per season for each English club. And, last week, TV rights for the 2024-2025 season were renegotiated with TNT... downward.

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