Slough RFC unlikely to return to rugby until January, says new chairman

Slough RFC's new chairman Karen Wild has told members the club plans to close its doors until January as the country prepares to enter a second national lockdown.

All rugby activity at the club is now suspended until December 2, and Karen said that with only two weeks of training between December 2 and Christmas, the most sensible option is for the club to return in January. She added that this would be reviewed over the Christmas period to allow for any changes in restrictions from the Government or RFU.

Community rugby leagues across the country have also been cancelled this season, however, there is hope clubs will be able to play some form of adapted rugby – with tackling but no scrums or mauls – early in the new year. It’s likely that clubs will play competitive games against other local sides in a mini-league which will run through to the end of a truncated season in April. However, the RFU still has to convince Government that this form of the game can be safely played.

In a statement this week, Karen said: “I hope you and your families are keeping well. Unfortunately, this isn’t the type of communication I’d have liked to send out as my first official job as chairman, but with the bizarre year we’re in, it is not that surprising. All rugby activity is currently suspended until at least December 2 and the RFU has confirmed that we are moving back to stage A on the return to rugby roadmap. Under stage A two players can train together socially distanced but cannot share any equipment.

“This means that the clubhouse and club gym are both closed to all members.

“We as a committee feel the responsible thing to do, with only two scheduled weeks of training between December 2 and Christmas is to not return to rugby until January and we will review that after Christmas to allow for any changes to the Government or RFU guidelines. We understand that many parents and players within the age grade section would like to return before Christmas, and we will continue to review this with the help and advice we are continually receiving from Buckinghamshire CB & RFU.

“I would like to re-assure all club members that we are in a financially sound position. Thank you to all those who have maintained their membership payments – this has gone a long way to ensuring we are in this position. We will get through this and come back stronger.”

W Windsor RFC has also said it’s reviewing the implications of the national lockdown before updating members on how it plans to proceed.

A statement added that with the league season now cancelled, the RFU Competitions Team was working to finalise alternative men’s and women’s competition models to replace the league fixtures. These local league matches, which won’t have promotion or relegation, are likely to get underway from January.

“These will be entirely optional for clubs and will have no impact on promotion/relegation,” a club statement said. “They will focus on local cluster leagues and offer a framework for clubs to return to play, in some format once we have Government approval to do so. It is intending to circulate these proposals, inviting clubs to participate on November 13.

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