Rugby League will receive a £16 million loan from the Government to safeguard the immediate future of the sport for the communities it serves.
The emergency loan will help the sport deal with the extreme financial impact of the coronavirus outbreak while the season remains suspended, due to social distancing measures.
It comes ahead of England hosting the Rugby League World Cup next year, which will see the men's, women's and wheelchair games come together for a world first on the sport's biggest stage.
The Government’s manifesto included a commitment to delivering a successful tournament, with significant financial support already provided.
Oliver Dowden, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said:
This is a massive shot in the arm to secure the survival of Rugby League.
Many Rugby League clubs have well-established charitable programmes in their communities, and have adapted these to help the vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic. Cheshire’s West Bank Bears have delivered food parcels to elderly people who are self-isolating, while players from Widnes Vikings and Warrington Wolves have been calling supporters to build connections and check in on their wellbeing.
The RFL will administer this funding, in partnership with Sport England and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport. All RFL Super League, Championship and League 1 clubs based in England are eligible to apply.
Further details on when the fund will open and how clubs can apply will be announced by the RFL in due course.
Ralph Rimmer, Chief Executive of the Rugby Football League, said:
The RFL is grateful to the Government for understanding and acting on the case for the whole sport.