But club will lose money this year
Exeter Rugby Club chief executive Tony Rowe OBE insists there is a ‘real desire’ from within the club and from Premiership Rugby to ensure the 2019/20 season is completed. Clubs have agreed not to train until June, but with that deadline days away, life's looking more promising. Once training starts, a return to games would be next on the agenda.
Rowe’s optimism comes following the announcement earlier this week where the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS), Public Health England (PHE), the Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) and UK Sport, agreed elite combat and team sport would have permission to resume full-contact training for the first time since the Covid-19 outbreak.
Organised close contact training, such as tackling, contact from inside two metres and sharing certain equipment could be on the way back soon.
“I don’t mind saying, last week I was pretty depressed as I couldn’t see any light at the end of the tunnel,” said Rowe. “At that time, we were not sure when we could get back to training and what the future told. This announcement this week has changed things and now I’m more confident that we will return to playing again soon.
“As a club and as a sport, we have to see this as a positive. Of course, we will adhere to the advice of the government and the various medical professionals, but as a club we have a real desire to finish this season. It’s the same for Premiership Rugby, they too want to finish this season and get clubs back playing again.
“In 22 years of running the club, this year will be the first time that we have lost money,” explained Rowe. “There are obvious reasons for this, of course, but we have had to work incredibly hard to help preserve the business as best we can.
“Because of the virus there will be a big fat hole in the accounts and that means we will have to find ways of addressing that moving forward. It’s not easy, particularly when you have no income coming in, but I’m confident that we have found a way to overcome the challenge currently.
"Having spoken with Rob [Baxter] we are both very encouraged by the announcement this week and we feel there is a very good chance that we can get back to some kind of normality in the not too distant future.”