• Durham County RFU Admin

RFU Community Game Update (2021)

Updated: Jul 1

Distribution list: Tuesday 29 June

Constituent Bodies Chairs, Honorary Secretaries, Treasurers,

Club Presidents, Chairs, Honorary Secretaries, Treasurers

Return to Rugby

This edition includes:

1. Council update

2. 2021/2022 Travel Funding and RFU Competitions

3. Age Grade Summer Activity - July

4. Allianz Inner Warrior

5. Pitch up for Rugby

6. Club Support – VAT Recovery and Lease Reviews

7. News round-up including Pride in Brighton and helping at vaccination centres to #TackleCovid

8. Webinars and on-demand videosRFU Council vote in favour of Covid Recovery Plan and temporary pause on relegationThe RFU Council has today voted in favour of a range of structural changes to improve the financial stability and sustainability of professional rugby during the next three seasons while also providing benefits for England Rugby and the community game.

The Covid Recovery Plan, with a temporary pause on relegation, follows a detailed consultation that was announced in February after the RFU Council voted in favour of no relegation from Gallagher Premiership Rugby or the Greene King IPA Championship for the 2020/21 season. The extensive consultation included Premiership Rugby and their clubs, Championship clubs, The RPA, RFU Board and RFU CouncilRead MoreTravel Funding and 2021/2022 seasonFurther to announcements within the Community Game Updates on 15th and 22nd June, more information can be found below on travel funding support available for season 2021/22.

The document provides information on:

• Clubs travelling to play teams on Isle of Man, Guernsey and Jersey – women and men

• Mainland clubs travelling to the Isle of Wight - men

• Needs based travel funding.

It also contains the Needs Based Travel Fund criteria, how to apply and the application form.

RFU Competitions 2021/22 Season

Both adult and age grade competitions are on track to begin in September. We do, however, need to be mindful of Government’s announcement scheduled for Monday 19th July regarding the provisional lifting of all Covid-19 restrictions. The situation is being closely monitored and we are ready to react if there is a change to that date.Application FormTravel DocumentAge Grade Summer ActivityA reminder that on Thursday, age grade rugby activity moves to the July phase of the Summer Activity Guide. This extends the format, intensity, type and amount of activity permitted across age grade clubs, schools and colleges. It also means XRugby, without scrums and mauls, can now be played in fixtures for U14s and above.

Please visit the Summer Activity page to see the guide and supporting information. Remember that this covers all age grade activity.

Specific guidance to support rugby camps is also available on the page below.Summer GuideAllianz Inner WarriorWith 162 events and more than 3,500 participants taking part in Warrior camps in May, the appetite for rugby is back. We are now planning the next phase of camps.


Aligned to the Summer Activity Framework, clubs will be encouraged to host Warrior Camps for the girls’ age groups. They will focus on helping to transition players into their new age groups, bringing girls back together and welcoming new players.


This month will see clubs hosting Warrior Camps to kick off the new season, focusing on women and recruiting new players into the game.

To find out more and to register, click below.FAQsRegister NowPitch Up For RugbyThank you to all clubs that have already registered their interest in Pitch up for Rugby via the link below. All interest needs to be registered by Friday 9 July. This doesn’t commit you to anything, it just gives us an indication of the number of clubs who will be getting involved to celebrate rugby being back.Register InterestClub SupportVAT Recovery

Clubs who are VAT registered are encouraged to take action to protect their ability to continue recovering all VAT incurred.

An unintended consequence of clubhouse closures due to Covid has been a material drop in taxable incomes generated by clubs. This in turn has reduced VAT recovery rates as this is calculated to reflect taxable incomes. HMRC has recognised this issue and is encouraging clubs to seek approval to adopt the year end 2020 recovery rates for 2021. Formal approval for this procedure must be obtained from HMRC and further information can viewed here.

Any club having not yet actioned this matter is able to contact Russell Moore on the RFU VAT helpline to assist with this 07710 329317 or via russellmoore@sportsvat.co.uk.

Lease Review Offer

Irwin Mitchell, Official Legal Partner of England Rugby, has developed a fixed-fee lease review exclusively for our rugby clubs. The review will help your club understand its current lease, identifying any issues or pitfalls. This is especially important for clubs looking to improve their club facilities or to potentially make changes to their operations.

See below to find out more about the RFU Lease Review and costs.

This was developed following a successful ‘know your lease’ webinar that was hosted by Irwin Mitchell and can be viewed below.Review And CostsWebinarNews round upVaccination centres need our help

Local communities across the country will already appreciate the inspirational support provided by members of the rugby family during the pandemic. Would you like to go one step further to help the NHS #TackleCovid by volunteering at local vaccination centres? More information is available below. Hopefully, with the vaccination programme in full swing, we will see restrictions lift in the coming months and rugby can get back to normal.


Pride in Brighton

As part of Pride month, we are bringing you the great story of how Brighton Sea Serpents were set up by two former Kings Cross Steelers members.

Read more

Entries for the Under 15s & Under 18s National Girls’ Cup & National Under 18s Boys’ Cup

Entries for both competitions will be opened and sent out to the relevant contacts on GMS in the week commencing Monday 12 July. If you have any queries please contact WomensCompetitions@RFU.com (Girls Cup) or Competitions-Development@RFU.com (National U18 Boys Cup). As there are limited spaces for both competitions, please ensure your entries are completed promptly.Webinars & videos on demandAs we build up to the Summer Series you can watch the first of episode of The Next Level where Eddie Jones welcomes the new faces to the England Squad.

Watch video

Data Tidy up

Following the communications in recent weeks we have put together an on demand webinar following some questions we have had. We hope this helps and we will be providing more information for clubs, players and CBs in the coming weeks.

Watch video

Distribution list: Tuesday 15 June

Constituent Bodies Chairs, Honorary Secretaries, Treasurers,

Club Presidents, Chairs, Honorary Secretaries, Treasurers

Return to Rugby

This edition includes:

1. Government Step 4 update and what this means for rugby

2. Regulation changes approved by RFU Council, Friday 11 June

3. Season 2021/22 Community Funding

4. Women’s leagues & fixtures release 2021/22

5. RFU Virtual AGM

6. Taxation of business support grants

7. News round-up

8. Webinars and on-demand videosGovernment Step 4 and what this means for rugbyFollowing yesterday’s announcement by the Prime Minister to delay Step 4 until Monday 19 July to enable more people to be vaccinated, we remain at Stage D2 on the rugby roadmap.

We will continue to hold discussions with government around when it will be possible to move to Stage E and full contact training.

In the meantime, we remind clubs and their members to follow all Covid-19 protocols and Stage D2 guidance. Please take particular care in light of the increase in Delta variant cases.

A reminder of Covid protocols and Stage D2 guidance can be found on the buttons below.Stage D2Helpdesk FAQsRegulation changesFollowing the RFU Council meeting on Friday 11 June, we would like to make CBs and Clubs aware of two key regulation changes that will come into effect for the 2021/2022 season.

Change to Age Grade Tackle Height – Regulation 15

As part of our continual evolution of player welfare initiatives, a law change to the tackle height in age grade rugby will come into effect from Sunday 1 August 2021.

The existing rules for those playing full contact rugby at U9 to U14 levels has an imagined line between the armpits as the maximum height of a legal tackle. This will continue.

Under the law change, these rules will now extend across all U15 to U18 age groups, bringing the tackle height down from shoulder level to the armpit. This means that age grade players from U9-U18 will play to the same tackle height law.

Players participating at U7 and U8 level will continue to play non-contact rugby.

Read more here.

Changes to Regulation 9 and the related First Aid and Immediate Care Provision Guidelines for the new season:

Regulation 9.3 now includes that clubs must complete a risk assessment and ensure an appropriate level of immediate care and/or first aid cover and equipment is in place for the rugby activity to take place as determined by the risk assessment.

We also continue to highly recommended that clubs and other rugby activity providers comply with the RugbySafe First Aid/Immediate Care Provision Guidelines. A new version for the 2021-22 season will be available via the RugbySafe page next week, when further information will be sent to clubs and their RugbySafe Leads.

A webinar will also be held on Wednesday 30 June to go through the new First Aid/Immediate Care Provision guidelines for the 2021-22 season and to cover other areas within FA/IC provision, including the first aid risk assessment, facilities and equipment and first aid training.

You can register on the link below or in the webinar section.RugbySafeRegisterSeason 2021/22 Community FundingCovid-19 will continue to have a major impact on RFU revenues for 2021/22 and beyond, with spectator capacities at Twickenham still unknown. In addition to the impact in this upcoming year, we also continue the longer-term recovery from what was a very low revenue year in 2020/21. This continues to lead to tough decisions across the whole game and the RFU Board and Council have agreed a business plan that sees continued investment into the game, while also supporting recovery from what has been an incredibly difficult last 15 months. Even in these challenging times, we will continue to invest in excess of £20m into the community game, greater than the entire turnover of the majority of other national governing bodies of sport. The RFU Board has also committed to a six-month comprehensive in-year review should capacities increase beyond those budgeted for and should this happen we would look to increase this investment further.

Different ways of working have evolved over the past 12 months and, in many areas, this has helped to strengthen partnerships with, and between, CBs and clubs. We remain committed to building on this collective endeavour and to maximising the resources we have available to us.

Key Headlines

• Club liability and catastrophic injury insurance will continue to be funded and provided centrally.

• The core element of PFR funding introduced in 2020/21 will continue into 2021/22. An additional £200k of funding will be provided to CBs to support local delivery of key RFU strategic objectives. Further detail will follow on this and we will look to increase this as this year progresses should the overall position improve.

• Funding for DPP will continue at the same levels as 2019/20. In addition to the funding paid to CBs for Age Grade Representative Rugby in 20/21 and carried forward due to no activity, an additional payment of £9.6k will be made to each CB to support the operation of this.

• Funding for volunteer management and leadership development will be re-instated, building on the previous successes with Leadership Academies and Leadership in Union.

• Recognising the necessity to ensure our pitches are ready for the return of rugby, continued and enhanced funding will be provided to support Rugby Grounds Connected.

• Match Officials at Levels 3-5 will continue to be deployed centrally and benefit from a national subsidy. Funding contributions from clubs will be charged at the same levels as 2019/20 - £3000 at L3, £1500 at L4 and £650 at L5.

• Funding for the Senior Men’s & U20 and Women’s County Championships will be considered once the current review group have reported on their findings and made their recommendations. Any funding will be decided upon by the Community Game Board who will assess this against contribution and relevance to the RFU strategic priorities.

• Funding to support merit table operation will be reinstated at the same levels as 2019/20.

• A dedicated budget for travel will be re-instated. However this will not be universally distributed to clubs. Support will be provided in two areas (1) to those onshore clubs having to travel offshore to fulfil league fixtures and (2) through a needs-based fund to support clubs most in need, further details on which will follow by the end of June.

• Operational budgets to reflect key areas of ongoing work will continue. While these are significantly smaller than in the pre Covid years we will seek to grow these back over time. Many of these are restricted as they are tied to external funding (e.g. Sport England). However, the Community Game Board will continue to focus on ensuring that any available resource is aligned closely to our strategic priorities.AGM - Friday 11 JuneThank you to everyone who attended and asked questions at Friday’s virtual AGM. Over the coming weeks on EnglandRugby.com you will be able find a copy of the speeches made by RFU CEO Bill Sweeney and RFU President HH Jeff Blackett, alongside voting results and the AGM minutes.

During the AGM, RFU member clubs ratified:

• The decisions made by the RFU Board to appoint Tom Ilube CBE as successor to Chair, Andy Cosslett and Polly Williams to take over as Independent Non-Executive Director from Helen Weir. Both take up their new positions from Sunday 1 August.

• A decision, approved by Council Members in November 2020, to keep the Presidential team in their current positions for the 2021/22 season.

13 new Council Members, elected by their Constituent Bodies, were also presented to member clubs.

We would like to thank the outgoing Council Members who have been instrumental in driving the game forward and extend a warm welcome to incoming members. We wish them the very best in their new roles.Read MoreWomen’s Leagues & Fixtures Release 2021/22The finalised women’s league structure and fixture schedules for each of the leagues are available below. Please be aware that, as a result of feedback, some changes may have been made to your leagues from the provisional leagues.

This information will be sent tomorrow to clubs who have entered Women & Girls contact, Fixture Secretary (Adult Female) and Fixture Secretary Assistant (Adult Female) GMS roles. Feel free to share this with them today if you prefer.

The fixtures will go live on englandrugby.com once the Gallagher Premiership Final has taken place.

Please click the buttons below for fixtures and the final league structure. This Map shows teams within each league.

Inner Warrior Series

Conversations will continue with your local Competition Organiser and/or Competitions Development Officer to ensure an appropriate format and fixture schedule for all teams involved in your local area.

If you have any queries, please contact womenscompetitions@rfu.com.Fixtures PDFLeague Structure PDFTaxation of Business Support GrantsFurther to the introduction of legislation on taxation of Coronavirus Business Support and Job Retention Scheme Grants, HMRC have published detailed guidance on how these new tax rules apply. The guidance is general in scope and does not address the special corporation tax rules which apply to members sports clubs. However, HMRC’s position is that these grants are fully taxable whether a club has been liable to corporation tax in the past and filed returns or not.

We have produced an on-demand webinar which gives you an overview of the approach. There are some exceptions to the taxations, which can be found on the tax page below, which also includes where support can be found.On-Demand WebinarTax PageRugby Round UpBelow are other stories published recently that we would ask you to share further.

• We have sent this video to adult male players at level 2 and below to summarise the Future Competition Structure in simple terms. Please feel free to share this video more widely to help explain the changes to expect from September 2022, in a bid to help clubs retain players.

• On Friday 18 June, Constituent Bodies chairs, honorary secretaries, treasurers, club presidents, chairs, honorary secretaries, treasurers and data officers will receive notification of an update to GMS that will affect player data. If not done already, please can you make sure all roles are up-to-date.

• The RFU’s Safeguarding procedures are regularly assessed externally by the Child Protection in Sport Unit, with the most recent report giving the Union the highest rating of very good in every aspect.

• Over the last couple of weeks, we have celebrated Volunteers' Week and UK Coaching Week. For stories and videos check @EnglandRugby on Twitter and the community section on englandrugby.com/news.

• As we look back on coaching week, we wanted to shine a light on Giselle Mather who went from Red Rose #35 to coaching the first women’s Barbarians team. You can read more here. We also spoke to former Bristol Women and England prop Sasha Acheson, who has joined the South West's first inclusive gay friendly rugby team, Bristol Bisons, as their head coach. Read more

• John Hilton, head coach of Windsor Dames, has been flying the flag for rugby having been selected as a finalist for the UK Coaching Hero. Read more

• Congratulations to Giles David Hilton, Chairman and Commercial Manager for Canterbury Rugby Football Club who has been awarded an MBE for services to Rugby Union Football in Kent. Read more

Webinars & videos on demandAll our Coaching, Refereeing, and Club webinars are on-demand, alongside the webinars coming up below.

First aid and immediate care

The next RugbySafe webinar on Wednesday 30 June will cover first aid and immediate care provision in clubs. This will include the new RFU guidelines recommend for pitch-side provision, equipment and facilities. We will also look at appropriate first aid qualifications and discuss what good practice looks like. You can join us live or watch on-demand afterwards.


Financial sustainability – Wednesday 23 June 6:30 – 8:30pm

Although managing the day-to-day finances of your club can seem a daunting or tedious task, this workshop will support you to identify financial objectives that will help your club become more financially sustainable and resilient.


Distribution list: Tuesday 20 April

Constituent Bodies Chairs, Honorary Secretaries, Treasurers,

Club Presidents, Chairs, Honorary Secretaries, Treasurers

Return to Rugby

This edition includes:

1. Return to Play – one week until Stage D2

2. RUWSF Asset Improvement Loan applications – 11 May deadline

3. Adult Male Future Competition Structure from 2022/23 season

4. Payment of Players update

5. Mental Health support coming out of lockdown

6. Red Roses in Six Nations Final this Saturday

7. Webinars and on demand videosReturn to Play - Move to Stage D2 from 26 AprilFrom Monday 26 April we will return to Stage D2 on the rugby roadmap, which includes contact fixtures with adapted laws. Please familiarise yourselves with the guidance below. A video is also available here.

Age Grade

This move to Stage D2 also applies to age grade rugby, from Monday 26 April until the end of the extended 2020-21 age grade season on Monday 31 May 2021.

From Tuesday 1 June, we move to the out-of-season period through June, July and August, when activity will follow the Summer Activity Framework. For details, see below.

Age Grade Changes

Summer Activity Guide

Summer Activity Overview

Stage D2 Age Grade Match Guidance

The next #AskAgeGrade session on @AgeGradeRugby will be hosted on Monday 3 May.

Current off-field guidance

Off-field guidance is available via our Help Desk FAQs below, in line with steps reached on the government’s roadmap.Helpdesk FAQsD2 GuidanceRUWSF Asset Improvement Loan Applications - Tuesday 11 May deadlineClubs have until 5pm on Tuesday 11 May to submit an application for a Rugby Union Winter Survival Fund Asset Improvement Loan.

At 7pm on Wednesday 21 April, we are hosting a webinar to explain the opportunities this presents to clubs and how they can make an application.

Don’t miss out - make sure you register below.

The application form is available on our loans page below, alongside eligibility criteria and a number of documents that will help you through the end-to-end process.

Please read all documents before completing the application form.Loans PageRegisterAdult Male Future Competition Structure from 2022/23 seasonTo support participation in the community game at Level 3 and below, the RFU Council has agreed changes to the adult male competitions structure.

This follows an intensive 18-month review to understand challenges within the existing competitions structure, current players’ needs and the format that will serve them best.

Below you can read why these changes have been made and find the summary of new measures to be implemented from 2022/23, which follow four core principles: putting player welfare/needs at the forefront of decisions, minimising travel, ensuring a high quality of player experience and supporting club sustainability.

Over the coming weeks members of the Community Game Board and Future Competitions Structure Group will hold Q&A sessions with clubs to provide clarity on what the changes will mean to them.

More detailed information regarding implementation and regulation will be communicated throughout the remainder of this season.Why ChangesSummary Of MeasuresPayment of Players updateFollowing RFU Council’s vote on Friday, the below changes have been agreed to Payment of Players, Regulation 7.

1. The following changes to the thresholds at Level 3, 4 and 5 for season 2021-22. While clubs are able to pay above the threshold, if they do they will lose access to RFU Benefits as defined by Regulation 7. The revised thresholds are:

• Level 3 - £250,000 (down from £275,000)

• Level 4 - £125,000 (down from £157,500)

• Level 5 - £50,000 (down from £65,000)

• Level 6 – £0 - no change

2. All clubs at Level 8 and below and all non-voting clubs will only need to complete the declaration annually if they pay their players or player coaches and wish to be eligible for RFU Benefits.

3. There will be no requirement for Student clubs to complete the declaration annually unless the Student club plays in an RFU League at level 7 and above.

Any questions please contact paymentofplayers@rfu.com.Mental health support for the rugby communityFor many of us, the end of lockdown has been highly anticipated, but for others it could be a difficult adjustment, especially for those who are more vulnerable to the virus or who have mental health concerns.

Being able to return to rugby clubs will provide a huge boost to people’s mental, as well as physical health. However, if any members would like to find further support on how to cope with anxiety caused by the pandemic, follow the link below to our healthcare partner, Simplyhealth.

More resources will be available as we build towards Mental Health Awareness week (10-16 May), when we will also share stories of how clubs are supporting their communities.