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: email@example.com
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.
In addition to the support available to you from your province, here are a list of resources for your club:
Additional Guidelines Are Available at https://www.irishrugby.ie/running-your-club/return-to-rugby-for-clubs/
VIDEO: Getting Contact Ready
For upcoming #ReadyForRugby Support Webinars, go to https://www.irishrugby.ie/2021/04/22/new-readyforrugby-support-webinars-added/
IRFU Rugby Participation Roadmap 2021/22:
Government of Ireland Public Health Measures:
Northern Ireland Executive Coronvirus Regulations:
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.
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:
Department for Communities Guidance on the Safe Return to Sport
Guidance and resources: https://www.communities-ni.gov.uk/publications/covid-19-guidance-safe-return-sport
#ReturnToRugby Best Practice
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: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/content/rates-holiday
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: https://www.nibusinessinfo.co.uk/business-support/support-businesses-paying-tax-uk-wide
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.
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:
For more information: https://www.tnlcommunityfund.org.uk/funding/programmes/awards-for-all-northern-ireland
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: https://www.halifaxfoundationni.org/
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:
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’: https://www.nicva.org/covid19
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)
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 gov.uk website has outlined government support for COVID-19 impacted businesses in the UK: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-support-for-businesses
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: www.consumercouncil.org.uk/coronavirus
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: https://dbei.gov.ie/en/What-We-Do/Supports-for-SMEs/COVID-19-supports/
Irish Tax and Customs
Latest information on Revenue services, and tax and customs measures, in place during the COVID-19 pandemic: http://www.revenue.ie
Government News Service
MerrionStreet.ie is the Irish Government News Service: http://www.merrionstreet.ie
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: https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/news/dedicated-northern-ireland-covid-19-app-launched
The Department of Health Northern Ireland and Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland have also produced this Factsheet.
Anyone with suspected symptoms of Coronavirus should follow Government health advice and:
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.