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Chi welcome RFU support

Chichester chairman Paddy McAlpine has welcomed news the Rugby Football Union will help out community clubs.


The RFU has announced it is funding a package worth £7million to provide support for community rugby clubs in England. The measure was announced in a message from chief executive Bill Sweeney.


Sweeney also revealed that an update on whether to end the season early will be announced by mid-April, with current plans working on an assumption of returning to rugby in the autumn.


Chichester president Gareth Webb this week revealed coronavirus has dealt a massive blow to their finances.


Webb said the London One South club costs £6,000 a month to run and does not have “extensive cash reserves” so Wednesday night’s announcement is encouraging news admits McAlpine.


McAlpine said: “I have a video call with the Sussex county board on Monday night.


“Through them we shall find out exactly where we stand.


“I shall talk the rest of our committee to figure out exactly where we are financially and understand exactly what is going to happen and what sort of grant we can apply for and how much we need.”


Webb said in his statement on the club website earlier in the week the Blues had requested a repayment holiday from the RFU against the loan they took out for the Legacy Project building work and had also sought rent/rate relief from Chichester District Council.


The RFU package could further help the situation.


McAlpine said: “Any sort of help will be welcome. We will get through this and there will be rugby at Oaklands Park whenever the coronavirus finishes. We just have to make sure we are already in good shape.


“It will be a long haul and it is almost like starting over again but it is the same in any business.


“But potentially it is good news and very welcome.”


Hampshire Premier side Bognor will also be glad to hear the news, although, the speed any financial support can be offered will be key for all clubs who have immediate cash flow problems.


The football season is now over for all our local clubs in the Isthmian League and Southern Combination Football League.


League bosses at non-league steps three and below had decided to terminate the season and the National League asked the Football Association on Wednesday for help to do the same too.


Bognor had an outside chance of making the play-offs in Isthmian Premier, while Chichester City were pushing for the last spot in the South East division.



In the SCFL, Pagham had climbed away from trouble in the Premier, Selsey were safely beyond mid-table and looking up in division one while Bosham were above the dropzone in division two.


Clubs are waiting to discover whether the seasons will be declared null and void with no promotions or relegations, or tables are drawn up based on points-per-game. Clubs were polled by the SCFL as to how they would like the season resolved.


SCFL chairman Steve Nealgrove said: “From the step five and six leagues and at step three and four there was no clear mandate upon how to complete the season.


“There is roughly a 50-50 split between those wanting to expunge the season and those wanting to apply the points-per-game to the league table.


“The FA want to make a global and consistent ruling which applies across the NLS (non-league) and have taken the feedback away to help make their decision.


“No clear timescale exists for that decision, but the FA are aware that clubs and leagues need a decision ASAP.”

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