On the morning of Tuesday 11th February, just prior to arriving at Twickenham for a Championship Club’s meeting with the RFU, I (Alistair Bow) received a letter from their new Chief Executive – Bill Sweeney, backed up by a presentation, outlining their decision to cut Championship funding by approximately 50% next season and with no guarantee of funding at all thereafter. The RFU have now released a statement detailing this news to the media.
As I am sure you will expect, it has come as somewhat of a surprise to most, if not all Championship Clubs’ and it puts almost all clubs in a very difficult position. There has been no warning, no opportunity for negotiation, or discussion and very little notice to be able to make informed business decisions on the back of it.
Clubs, including Nottingham, have been in the process of securing contracts for players and coaches in recent months and these will need to be reviewed alongside a thorough assessment of what our future trading and performance might look like. It will also come as a huge shock to players, coaches and support staff across the game and I am sure will affect many people’s livelihoods.
The Nottingham Rugby board are extremely disappointed with the RFU announcement and subsequent reduction in funding, but we are even more disappointed and somewhat astounded at the underhand and deplorable way that we feel this has been communicated. To give Championship Clubs next to no notice to be able to take action is not acceptable and we will be meeting urgently to review our strategy and consider our position going forwards.
The club will be making a further statement following a period of reflection by the board.