“We anticipate for at least a large majority of the season that spectators will not be permitted into Goldington Road, if at all, which leaves the club in an extremely challenging position financially.”
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This was the standout quote of the latest statement from Bedford Blues who have committed to the new Championship season beginning on Saturday 6 March.
However, with grant applications unsuccessful, the club has been left to field the huge costs of COVID-19 testing and protocols with Government funding not materialising.
It is estimated it will cost clubs around £120,000 to test their players for Covid-19 over the course of the season, and with no revenue coming in, many can’t afford to pay for it.
With this in mind, the club is asking for the help of the Blues community, as a crowdfunding campaign is launched to help with escalating running costs:
“We have been heartened by the continued support shown, but we must ask for more of the same to ensure Bedford Blues comes through this situation stronger as we enter our 135th year as the town’s Club.”
“Bedford Blues have been one of the most consistent operators in the Championship having been founder members of the division since its revision to the current format.”
“We want to continue offering our trademark attacking brand of rugby at Goldington Road for many years to come.”
This comes after widespread condemnation from the majority of Championship clubs; the latest in a long line of incidents where they feel they have been left to fend for themselves by the authorities.
Money has been made available to Championship clubs in order to function, but only in the form of loans, with many second-tier teams already in financial hardship after almost a year without action.
Local rivals Ampthill have perhaps been the most vociferous and outspoken in doing so, with the Saracens Supporters Association responding to their appeal for help with a donation.
With the anticipation of fans being absent for the majority of the season, Bedford Blues plan to stream all home matches so Blues fans can follow the team from the comfort of their sofas.
Tickets for fans to stream home games will be priced at £10 per game but the club are unable to sell season tickets with the presumption that fans won’t be able to attend in person.
You can donate to the Blues’ crowdfunder here.