COVID-19 – Guidance for Clubs

COVID-19 – Guidance for Clubs

Ulster Rugby is aware of the challenges faced by member clubs due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and that the situation may place some clubs in a difficult financial situation. This page aims to signpost clubs to potential support during this challenging period, and it will be updated on a regular basis to reflect the latest guidance from the IRFU, government and health authorities.

Rugby clubs requiring further information should contact:

Last updated: 113:11, 2 February 2022

Current COVID-19 Guidelines

For the latest Government guidelines, please click here.

Non-Rugby Activity In Clubs:

Commercial activities operated by clubs including bar and cafe facilities are subject to relevant sector guidelines.

#ReadyForRugby Support:

In addition to the support available to you from your province, here are a list of resources for your club:

COVID-19 Safety Planning:

VIDEO: Considerations For Updating Your COVID-19 Safety Plan

Additional Guidelines Are Available at

Return To Play Guidance:

PDF: Contact Readiness Training Overview

PDF: Performance, Injury Reduction & Return To Play After Prolonged Inactivity

VIDEO: Getting Contact Ready

VIDEO: Workload Guidelines For Return To Rugby

VIDEO: Protecting Player Performance With Warm Ups

For upcoming #ReadyForRugby Support Webinars, go to

#ReadyForRugby Overview

IRFU Rugby Participation Roadmap 2021/22:

Government of Ireland Public Health Measures:

Northern Ireland Executive Coronvirus Regulations:

RugbyConnect Platform

The IRFU rolled out a new online administration system for clubs from the 2020/2021 season.

The system will be known as RugbyConnect and will be the sole platform for all aspects game and competition management. It features a wide range of paperless functionalities to help volunteers manage areas such as safeguarding and club membership.

More information:

COVID-19 Fixture Impact Form

The COVID-19 Fixture Impact Form is an online form to be used when any of the following affects the ability of a club to field a team in a competitive fixture:

  • A confirmed case of COVID-19;
  • A suspected case of COVID-19 (where a player has been referred for testing by a GP/Public Health);
  • Contact tracing has determined the need for players to restrict their movements. The form should only be completed by the COVID-19 Club Compliance Officer or club Honorary Secretary.

Ulster Rugby Competitions Only: COVID-19 Impact Form

IRFU Competitions Only: COVID-19 Fixture Impact Form

Department for Communities Guidance on the Safe Return to Sport

Guidance and resources:

#ReturnToRugby Best Practice

Graduated return to contact resources

Small-sided games

Off-field development

Government Support:

Northern Ireland

Business Rates Holiday (NI)

As part of emergency support measures agreed by the NI Executive in response to the COVID-19 crisis, most business ratepayers in Northern Ireland will benefit from a 4-month rates holiday and many from a 12-month rates holiday during the 2020-21 rating year.

For more information:

Support for Businesses Paying Tax (UK)

All businesses and self-employed people in financial distress, and with outstanding tax liabilities, may be eligible to receive support with their tax affairs through HMRC’s Time To Pay service. You will be eligible if your business pays tax to the UK government and your business has outstanding tax liabilities.

For more information:

Republic of Ireland

Tax Reliefs for Employers & Employees:

The Revenue Commissioners has suspended the application of interest on late payments of VAT and employers’ PAYE (tax) liabilities to assist businesses that are experiencing trading difficulties. Debt enforcement activity is also suspended. Tax clearance status will remain in place for all businesses over the coming months. Revenue has also provided information, advice and support for taxpayers experiencing difficulties caused by the impacts of COVID-19.

Grant Support

Omicron Hospitality Payment

Sports clubs which occupy and manage a licensed bar and/or licensed restaurant facility and have received less than £50,000 in total through the DfC Sports Sustainability Fund can now apply for the Omicron Hospitality Payment.

Full details on the scheme along with the application form are available via the link below:

National Lottery Community Fund: Awards for All Northern Ireland

A quick way to apply for smaller amounts of funding between £300 and £10,000. Suitable for voluntary or community organisations. All the funding decisions they make for the next six months (up to £300m of National Lottery funding) will be devoted to addressing the current crisis. This is restricted to:

  • Activities specifically geared to supporting communities through this crisis
  • Helping organisations overcome any liquidity issues caused by Covid-19.

For more information:

Community Enhancement Programme – Republic of Ireland

The ‘Community Enhancement Programme’, through the Dept of Rural & Community Development is open for applications.

Clubs in ROI are eligible to apply for capital projects up to €10k such as development of sports facilities, energy efficiency projects and purchase of equipment to name a few.

The programme is being administered by the County Councils.

Further info is available here:

Halifax Foundation Northern Ireland

HFNI has changed its criteria and is now inviting applications from all constituted groups (not only charities) in NI that focus on supporting their community at this time.

For more information:

Practical Tips
  • Current financial position: Assess and understand the club’s current financial responsibilities, including regular outgoings, anticipated debts over the next while and cashflow management.
  • Speak to your bank: With the above information at hand, contact your bank to discuss your club’s individual circumstances and any areas they might be able to help. Examples include payment holidays on mortgages and loans, extension of any finance, or new borrowing opportunities.
  • Speak to other relevant suppliers: Speak to your bar supplier to halt future orders and check if existing stock can be sent back. This may also let relevant fridges be turned off. Temporarily halt broadband subscriptions, TV subscriptions and all other non-urgent utilities/outgoings.
  • Check your insurance cover: Check if your insurance policy covers you for an interruption in your business, or a temporary business closure, caused by COVID-19.

In addition, we appreciate that there will be challenges in terms of maintaining effective governance and communications within your club at this time. Here are some thoughts to consider:

  • Convene a small project team to address financial matters.
  • Maintain regular contact between committee members e.g. online platforms such as Zoom and MS Teams.
  • Ensure your Club Honorary Secretary regularly monitors their email account for updates and communications from Ulster Rugby.

NICVA has created a useful Covid-19 Information Hub with different channels of information for community and voluntary groups. Included is information on ‘Running Your Organisation’ and ‘Governance’:

Club Support Webinars

Ulster Rugby has rolled out a series of free club support webinars in partnership with Openreach, with the aim of assisting club volunteers as they prepare for the return to rugby activity.

Webinar 1: Planning for the Future

To view the presentation slides: Planning for the future slides (PDF)

Webinar 2: Growing and Developing Your Volunteer Workforce

To view the presentation slides: Growing and Developing Your Volunteer Workforce slides (PDF)

Webinar 3: Engaging Your Members

To view the presentation slides: Engaging Your Members Slides (PDF)

Northern Ireland

NI Business Info

NI Business Info is the official online channel for business advice and guidance in Northern Ireland. It has produced a summary of NI and UK-wide government support available (last updated on 6th April 2020): NI Business Info – Support Available


The website has outlined government support for COVID-19 impacted businesses in the UK:

The Consumer Council

The Consumer Council has launched a dedicated website that provides a variety of helpful information for consumers and businesses in Northern Ireland who may have been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. This includes personal finances, business bills, cancelled flights, scams, supermarket opening hours, and more.

For more information:

Republic of Ireland

Department of Business, Enterprise and Innovation

The Department has outlined a number of government support measures for COVID-19 impacted businesses in ROI:

Irish Tax and Customs

Latest information on Revenue services, and tax and customs measures, in place during the COVID-19 pandemic:

Government News Service is the Irish Government News Service:

Latest Government and Health Advice

There is a vast amount of information available regarding COVID-19, but the following websites contain regularly updated information both in the UK and ROI.

The Department of Health Northern Ireland has launched a new Covid-19 NI information app.

The app includes guidance on the symptoms of the coronavirus infection and supports individuals to identify whether they might potentially have the infection. It will also provide advice on what actions people should take if they think they may have Coronavirus. The information provided will also help people decide if they need advice from a health or care professional and how best to access that advice should they need it.

More information here:

The Department of Health Northern Ireland and Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland have also produced this Factsheet.

What if someone at my club shows symptoms?

Anyone with suspected symptoms of Coronavirus should follow Government health advice and:

  • Isolate themselves from other people – this means going into a different, well-ventilated room alone, with a phone.
  • Dial 111 in the UK or 112 in ROI to report your symptoms and seek advice.
  • In a medical emergency (if you have severe symptoms) dial 999.

If you have any concerns regarding a potential Coronavirus case at your club, dial 111 in the UK and 112 in ROI and inform Ulster Rugby and the IRFU immediately.

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