Rugby players fear for future as Covid ‘typhoon sweeps through sport’

Rugby Players’ Association has warned the pandemic threatens to crumble rugby union’s professional structure in months

The Oxford dictionary definition of a crisis is a time of danger. Alternatively just listen to the words of Damian Hopley, chief executive of the Rugby Players’ Association, as he seeks to protect his members’ livelihoods. “Can clubs survive until Christmas or into next year? Can some unions survive? It’s a very stark situation. The foundations of sport have been completely rocked and we’re now in a position where we’re starting to understand the real impact.”

Hopley is not exaggerating for effect. The players he represents are trapped in a nightmare that rugby union can ill afford. The Covid-19 situation is affecting everyone in the country to some degree but give it another three months and, without the return of crowds or matchday income, we will be discussing much of professional rugby in the past tense. Not just the odd struggling Premiership club but almost all of it, save for a lucky few with a billionaire writing endless blank cheques.

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