Latest RFU Community Game update

18 Jul 2020 14:29 | Devon RFU

Current status of Community Rugby

We have received a number of reports of clubs not training within RFU guidance and in breach of government policy. As a reminder to all coaches and club officials, we are currently at Stage B on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap.

Stage B allows players to train in groups up to a maximum of six people. Social distancing guidance should be followed (currently 1 metre plus), there should be no face to face or close contact and equipment sharing should be kept to a minimum. Under no circumstances should there be any contact training. This includes tackling, scrum, ruck, maul and lineout.

It is essential that clubs follows this guidance. Non-compliance puts clubs and coaches in breach of government policy and RFU guidance and could invalidate insurance. Clubs must also follow any local government lockdown restrictions that may be implemented. If a CB or the RFU are made aware of any breaches then charges under Rule 5.12 will be considered against the Coach responsible for the session and/or the Club itself.

Following last week’s government announcement regarding the return of recreational team sport, we are in discussions with the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport about the detail and submission of our action plan, which could accelerate a return to some form of community rugby. This is likely to be a non-contact adaption of the game which could allow larger groups than six to engage in more meaningful rugby activity, as written by Gavin Mairs in the Telegraph.

Pending the restart of rugby within one of the three potential start windows, as indicated on the return to competitive playing plan (see below), we have now announced outline league conferences and fixtures for the Adult Male (English Club Championship Levels 3 -12) for the 2020-21 season.

We will provide further updates as soon as we receive the green light from the government that it is safe for community rugby to restart.

Last call for Diversity and Inclusion volunteers – deadline Monday 20 July

Are you passionate about rugby being an inclusive sport? If the answer is yes, then we want to hear from you. The RFU Council has a newly formed Diversity and Inclusion Working Group actively recruiting for two volunteer members from the game to be part of an implementation group delivering ten agreed recommendations over the next two years. The focus will be on volunteer leaders and governance at club, Constituent Body and RFU Council level.

The time commitment is expected to be about six meetings a year, at least 50% of which will be virtual, along with some ad hoc calls, etc in between.

The deadline for applications is Monday 20 July with shortlisting by Tuesday 28 July and first interviews currently scheduled for between Saturday 8 and Wednesday 12 August.

Rugby is a sport founded on inclusion. However, there is more that we can do to improve diversity and these roles offer a great opportunity to deliver critical change. Click below to read the job description and apply. Please ensure that you enclose your CV as part of the application.

Running virtual Annual General Meetings

The Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020 has just come into force which will resolve some issues for clubs needing or wishing to hold AGMs. This new legislation will allow clubs and CBs which are companies, registered societies or CIOs to hold virtual AGMs even if their articles of association or rules do not permit it. This is a short-term measure and will apply until 30 September (unless extended by Parliament). It means that an AGM can be held virtually, and those participating do not need to be in the same place.

Click below to watch a webinar hosted by the RFU and Irwin Mitchell with practical tips on holding a virtual AGM. Sport England have also produced some helpful guidance which can be found below.

Club Audit 2020

The annual Club Audit enables the RFU to confirm every club’s membership status by verifying that each has continued to meet the criteria for voting membership during the previous season. It also identifies clubs that are no longer active or have ceased to exist, as well as prompting clubs that have become eligible to apply for voting membership.

As voting members of the Union, you can vote in RFU elections, apply for international tickets and get access to other RFU benefits not available to non-voting members.

The Club Audit for the 2019/20 season will see us contacting each CB to outline the process for this year, when it will be administered slightly differently to previous seasons.

We would appreciate all CB Chairmen and Hon Secs looking out for an email containing instructions and a link to the Club Audit. If you don’t receive this email, if the link within the email to SharePoint doesn’t work, or you have any questions on the process in the email, please email

Age grade out of season and holiday activities

The Department of Education (DfE) has recently updated information on out-of-school hours and holiday activity. We confirm this enables clubs and other providers who wish to do so, to proceed with holiday activities from the end of the school term for children in the age grade game (under 18 years old).

As with every off-season, the focus should be on broad multi-skill/sport activity and keeping people connected. A ratio of up to 15 players per 1 adult/coach is allowed by DfE. However, it is essential, to maintain social distancing and player welfare and safeguarding requirements, as well as to ensure club insurance remains valid, that:

• Any rugby-specific elements fully align with the guidance (including players per coach) for our current position at Stage B on the Return to Community Rugby Roadmap.

• All activity is in line with the requirements of RFU Regulation 15 including 15.8 Out of Season requirements, 15.9 Approvals and the Age Grade Playing Calendar and the recommendations of the RFU Safeguarding Policy

• Facilities and activities are risk assessed and planned in detail using the latest Return to Play tools/templates and checklists in the Age Grade Rugby Code of Practice 6 as a guide.

Clubs need to ensure these points are also applied to any third party providers being hosted at their facilities and that they have their own insurance in place. We will continue to update this guidance alongside our work to confirm our NGB Action Plan with the UK Government shortly.

Possible VAT reductions clubs

If your club supplies food and non-alcoholic drinks for consumption on your premises you are currently required to charge VAT at the standard rate of 20%. However, the Chancellor has recently announced that between the Wednesday 15 July 2020 and Tuesday 12 January 2021, clubs will only need to charge 5% VAT on these products. More information about how these changes apply to your club can be found below.

VAT registered clubs are charging VAT at the 20% rate on such supplies currently so the rate should go down to 5% from 15 July if the conditions in Paragraph 1 of Notice 709/1 are met. Please note that alcoholic drinks will remain subject to the 20% rate so some adjustment to VAT recording is likely to be required to separate the two types of drink.

The RFU has free VAT helpline, please contact Russell Moore via email at or on 07710 329317.

Eat Out to Help Out scheme (EOHO)

Some clubs may be able to benefit from the Eat Out to Help Out scheme recently announced by the Chancellor, which will be available from Monday 3 to Friday 31 August and potentially offers 50% off the cost of a meal and non-alcoholic drinks up to a maximum of £10 per person on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

You can register if your establishment:

• sells food for immediate consumption on the premises,
• provides its own dining area or shares a dining area with another establishment for eat-in meals,
• was registered as a food business with the relevant local authority on or before Tuesday 7 July.

You cannot register if:

• An establishment that only offers takeaway food or drink.
• Catering services for private functions.
• A hotel that provides room service only.
• Dining services (such as packaged dinner cruises).
• Mobile food vans or trailers.

Game Management System

We are pleased to confirm, as planned and previously communicated, the updated system was switched on successfully on Wednesday 15 July.

The updated GMS Help Portal, found below, is your one-stop shop for information about the improved system. It’s the place to go for user guides, announcements, solutions information, help features and to submit a help request. This new Help Portal will continue to evolve and more supporting information will be added over the coming days and throughout the season.

Age Grade Registrars and Clubs can also submit a request to automatically deregister their age grade players through the Help Portal. This option to lighten the administrative load is available from this season and all requests will be processed on a weekly basis.

Clubs are now able to familiarise themselves with the GMS changes, clean up and prepare their data and work with their members to check they have up-to-date e-mails attached to their profile. This will help you to get cracking with your streamlined registration and membership processes for 2020-21.

Thanks to the 600+ people who either joined our Live Webinar on Thursday 9 July or have registered to watch it on demand. You can still register below to view this useful summary of the changes for the 2020-21 season. Your support is greatly appreciated and we will continue to listen to and act on your feedback.