Bedford Blues to benefit from £9m COVID emergency support fund

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Bedford Blues generic holding card

Bedford Blues will receive a share of a £9m support fund from the Government, providing some much-needed relief for second tier rugby however there are calls from some that it is not enough.

The £9m for Championship clubs is part of a £135m package for rugby union, with £44m going to the Rugby Football Union and £59m for the Premiership.

However, with Championship clubs already facing financial hardship, fans and politicians alike are already commenting that this isn’t enough and the share of the money has been split incorrectly.

Oliver Dowden, Secretary for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) confirmed the £300m emergency package after a question from Bedford’s MP, Mohammad Yasin at the beginning of November.

Mr Yasin commented, “I welcome today’s announcement of £300m of emergency funding for sports impacted by the the absence of spectators because of coronavirus.

“The funding will be a huge relief to many but as with all big announcements, the devil is in the detail.

“The big question of the day, which I raised with the Minister, is will this be enough?”

There has been no competitive rugby for the Blues, along with their Championship rivals since March, with the club creating imaginative and welcomed initiatives to help with income throughout the pandemic.

However, the Championship hope to resume competitive fixtures in January with the Blues, among others, hoping the crowds will follow.

The Blues have strengthened their squad in the meantime with the versatile back, Tommy Bell signing from fellow front-runners, Ealing Trailfinders.

Director of Rugby, Mike Rayer commented, “This is great news for everyone at the club. Tommy brings a wealth of experience; is a class operator and he certainly likes Goldington Road as a venue as I believe he has a favourable record here.”

Nonetheless, despite today’s announcement of emergency funding, second tier rugby across the board is continuing to struggle as the stands remain empty and are keeping everything crossed for a January restart.

Bedford Blues have yet to comment on the funding.

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