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Community clubs should be able to live off their own pot, says Maidenhead RFC chairman

Maids chairman Steve Bough expects some money from the Government’s £300m emergency rescue package for sport to trickle down to their level, but he thinks most local clubs in the Berkshire region have been able to ‘live off their own pot’.

Sports that have been impacted by the loss of competitive matches and the absence of supporters were set to receive a share of £300m in Government aid to tide them through what’s likely to be an uncertain winter.

Both rugby codes and horseracing were among the beneficiaries with £23m of the £135m earmarked for Rugby Union to be spent on clubs and infrastructure below the Championship level.

Bough hopes Maids will benefit from that to a degree, with the club set to make a loss this year, but he thinks they’ll be ok for the time being.

“I’m sure some of that money will come down to our level,” he said.

“But it all depends on what’s loans and what’s grants. We wouldn’t take any loans because we can live off our own pot. The community clubs are pretty much okay at the moment. I’m sure there are a few suffering, but we’re all well run at a community level and we’re not out-spending what we’re earning. We don’t have contractual players to play and don’t have contracted overheads that we need to pay even though we’re not playing.

“The community game from what I’ve heard isn’t in a dreadful place.

“I think if you go up a couple of leagues into National 1 and National 2 and the Championship then it’s a different kettle of fish.

“Grants would help because we’re obviously going to make a loss this year, but I haven’t heard of any Berkshire clubs that are really suffering financially. We’re living off our wits and no one is going to the wall imminently because we’ve all been able to cut our costs.”

Bough expects there to be strict criteria upon which clubs receive money from Government and hopes that most of the cash made available to community clubs goes to those who truly need it. He’s also hoping to be able to get much needed money ‘across the bar’ as and when touch tournaments and competitive league matches resume post lockdown.

“I sit on the Berkshire Executive and we have a COVID funding panel and we have been able to allocate some money to clubs that are struggling financially. The money that we allocate can’t go on extra facilities.

“It is really to bail them out or to pay somebody they can’t pay.

“I would imagine that to get any of this money you will need to show that you really do need it.

“The clubhouse is all set up for social distancing and table service. The whole point of getting back to rugby is not only to get the boys back playing again but to also get some money across the bar. I would imagine open the bar up under the existing restrictions and protocols.”

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