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Sport by sport: what new lockdown regulations will mean in UK

An extended period without spectators will leave many sports clubs and governing bodies facing an uncertain future

Rugby union remains among the most vulnerable major sports if the pandemic continues to prevent spectators from attending major games. The Rugby Football Union, which largely funds the English game, derives 85% of its income from sold-out Twickenham internationals and its chief executive, Bill Sweeney, has now said the sport needs an urgent government bailout. In a statement, Sweeney said playing this autumn’s Tests and the Six Nations behind closed doors would see losses spiral above £100m. The other home unions are in a similar boat with an increasing possibility that, with Cardiff’s Principality Stadium unavailable, Wales will be forced to face England at a deserted Parc y Scarlets in November. The finances of the club game are even more precarious, with Exeter’s Tony Rowe suggesting every Premiership club is currently losing an estimated £1m per month. Further down the pyramid none of the other leagues in England have been permitted to restart and Sweeney said that the community game would lose up to £86m in revenue as fans are forced to stay away. The RFU’s losses, the statement continued, would make it impossible to invest in elite women’s rugby and the community game . Robert Kitson

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