Statement on behalf of Ampthill and District RUFC:
RFU funding cuts to Championship Clubs
On Tuesday the 11th February 2020, we received a letter from the CEO to the RFU Mr. Bill Sweeney. This letter informed clubs that there will be a 50% reduction in funding to Championship Clubs for the 2020/21 season. Since we have had the privilege of being promoted to compete in the Greene King IPA Championship, we have been working with our fellow members of the Championship Clubs Committee to ascertain what is happening post conclusion of the current 4-year agreement. There has been no dialogue between the Championship Clubs Committee and the RFU about the dramatic reduction in funding. There has been no consultation and at best we as a Club can only describe it as unfortunate, unprofessional and a short-sighted view from the RFU. At this stage, there are no promises of funding beyond next season.
On the same day, Chairman Alex Radley attended a meeting of the Championship Clubs Committee at Twickenham where Mr. Sweeney delivered a presentation about the cuts. We considered that the presentation lacked evidence, was factually wrong in places and completely undervalued the Championship as an RFU competition.
The funding gap has made a move to the Premier League all but a pipe dream for many and has by any other name ‘ring-fenced’ that competition for its members.
This news is a hammer blow to all of the clubs in the Championship. In our case, this will cause us to reconsider the fundamental improvements to the club that we have been crying out for over the past years such as the potential move to another venue. The management will now need to review all aspects of the running of the Club to make sure that we get the best possible outcome for all our stakeholders, members, players, support staff and volunteers.
Most disappointing was the lack of appreciation of the benefits a club such as Ampthill provides to its community, members and the game as a whole.
The decision will be looked at closely over the next few weeks and any updates will be reported on the website and social media.
Chairman Ampthill and District RUFC
Director of Rugby