Charles McHugh, the chairman, outlined the huge contribution his sport makes to the local economy as Guernsey Rugby Club looks to make a case to the Social Investment Fund and Disruption Guarantee Scheme for help after the RFU withdrew its annual grant, which would have been £114k for the season ahead.
‘We are in the process of sorting out this financial dilemma,’ said McHugh. ‘Thankfully all our sponsors are rallying behind us and we are exploring a number of different avenues to try to make up this one season shortfall.
‘We will run down every avenue. But it is a blow and one that was totally unexpected.’
The RFU travel grant is absolutely key to Raiders men’s and women’s teams being able to participate in the English leagues and visiting opposition won’t be happy either with the RFU announcement, as they will now have to find £3,000 per match to travel to Guernsey.
McHugh said the Guernsey RFC men’s and women’s sides will need to find circa £60,000 of extra funds to participate in the RFU Leagues in the season ahead, a very tall order unless some outside help can be found.
But as a community club with men’s, women’s and junior sides, Guernsey RFC believe they have a strong case for assistance.
With in excess of 500 local adult members and 350 local junior members they are now attracting home league attendances of 800-900.
In 2019 rugby spent a total of £884,163 travelling to away fixtures or for teams and supporters travelling to play in Guernsey.
‘We conservatively estimate that while Guernsey RFC men are playing in the National 2 League (level 4 UK) and women are playing in NC 1 South East (South) that the visiting supporters, players and officials attending our home fixtures will spend circa£845,000 in local hotels and £523,000 in local restaurants and bars,’ said McHugh
In addition allowing for local transport, hospitality and food and beverage sales it is conservatively estimated that rugby related sources of revenue exceed well over £2m.