22 December 2016

Welcome to the latest Community Game Update



For Action

Club Chairs and Secretaries 

Business Rates Revaluation 2017 

New Rateable Values will come into force on 1 April 2017.  Please see the RFU briefing note on the 2017 rating revaluation for information HERE. 

Checklist of actions for clubs

• Rateable Values will change from 1st April 2017 – clubs should be aware of this

• New Rateable Values are available at https://www.gov.uk/correct-your-business-rates 

• From this page you can also estimate business rates liabilities taking account of reliefs

• Mandatory reliefs are available for CASC’s, Charities, and small businesses

• Small business relief will increase significantly from 1 April 2017

• Check and consider the new RV carefully before making any appeal 

Club Secretaries and Treasurers and CB Secretaries and Treasurers

VAT Helpline 

We are becoming aware that following VAT inspections by HMRC, many clubs believe they have been incorrectly assessed and are able to recover more than first assumed. 

Typically this will relate to pitch and playing related expenditure such as drainage or pitch improvements and floodlighting. 

In many cases the clubs are perfectly entitled to recover part or all of the VAT incurred on these works and as such the assessment made by HMRC can be challenged and overturned resulting in a repayment of the VAT to the club. 

There is a time limit of 30 days from the date of the assessment within which a challenge should be made. However, where it can be demonstrated that the assessment is clearly incorrect HMRC will invariably waive this. 

In order to ensure clubs are dealt with fairly and consistently by HMRC around the country we would like to invite any club who has been faced with a VAT assessment (or where a club has been told by HMRC that VAT cannot be recovered on such expenditure) in the last four years to seek a free of charge review from our VAT consultant Russell Moore. 

Russell can be contacted on either 07710 329317 or via rugbyVAT@saffery.com

 World Rugby’s new law application and sanctions to improve safety with head contact

 World Rugby has announced new law application and sanctions which will come into effect across the game from January 3, 2017, concerning players making contact with opponents’ heads. 

For more information and guidance on implementing the new law, application guidelines can be found at: http://laws.worldrugby.org/guidelines

World Rugby has also developed an educational video which will further explain the Law Application Guideline and can be found HERE. 

The new measures come as a positive contribution to the game and support the research and work that the RFU does to ensure rugby is as safe as possible, with player welfare at the heart. As a result of these changes, World Rugby has announced amendments to the disciplinary process and regulations that all Unions are required to adopt from January 3.

 For Information 

NatWest RugbyForce 2017

NatWest RugbyForce launched on Wednesday 23 November 2017 

Please find information below on NatWest RugbyForce 2017. Registration is now open online at: www.EnglandRugby.com/NatWestRugbyForce 

The programme offers a unique and carefully crafted programme for grassroots clubs across the country, including a wealth of advice and support to ensure that clubs can thrive as strong and sustainable businesses away from just the on-pitch action.

 This year’s new and improved programme will offer clubs that register by 5 February 2017 the following:


  • Support packages of £500 awarded to 200 clubs who are selected to attend one of up to 35 NatWest RugbyForce workshops.
  • Invitation for up to 70 clubs to raise funds via a crowdfunding programme with NatWest RugbyForce contributing up to £750 as a booster towards the project and campaign following a very successful pilot last year.
  • 60 pitch maintenance packages to include a visit from the Twickenham Head Groundsman Keith Kent (or one of his team of pitch advisors) to help devise a pitch maintenance schedule for the weekend. 
  • Support packages of £2,000 to help put Keith’s report into practice over the NatWest RugbyForce weekend.
  • Support collateral to help promote clubs’ NatWest RugbyForce weekend event – set to take place on 24th and 25th June 2017.
  • The opportunity to access additional funding later on in the programme.

Clubs that don’t register by the February deadline will still have access to a NatWest RugbyForce support toolkit and are encouraged to participate in the NatWest RugbyForce weekend.

 Coordinated Consultation of Representative and Aspirational Programmes 

The Community Game Board (CGB) would like to thank all Constituent Bodies (CBs) and many others for their timely response to the above request for feedback over the last few months.  A response was received from the vast majority of CBs and the feedback presented to CGB in January alongside other related information.  This will now be taken into the business planning process and plans for 17/18 and beyond will be developed.  Thanks again for your feedback at what we know was a busy time for CBs, and we look forward to further communication on this matter in due course.


Club Secretaries, Chairs and Treasurers

EnglandRugbyDeals (ERD) 

EnglandRugbyDeals (ERD) is run by the RFU in conjunction with Independent Buyers Ltd, a buying consortium who has negotiated competitive discounts for clubs. Membership gives clubs access to deals and offers on products and services rugby clubs use from hospitality, printing, utilities, maintenance and club facilities. Members get access to a website with all the exclusive deals and contact details of all suppliers: www.englandrugbydeals.com.

 Club Visits: As part of the membership, ERD can offer to visit rugby clubs to give advice on our deals and discuss how to save money. ERD have visited over 80 clubs already, with many engaging in our deals where savings have been identified. On a visit we will scan invoices and then our expert buyers will complete a savings analysis. This is for like for like comparisons and will identify which categories savings can be made. The results are reported back to the club so they can make best use of all the potential savings.

 Clubs interested in a visit from ERD please contact:  support@englandrugbydeals.com or ring 01283 711551. 

Club Honorary Secretaries

Club Insurers Perkins Slade attendance at Constituent Body clubs meetings

In order to explain and help promote the insurance cover arranged for clubs via the RFU’s new insurance broker and the increased emphasis on risk management, Perkins Slade is happy to attend relevant CB clubs meetings. They can discuss the insurance covers, claims and risk management facilities directly with your club representatives and answer any queries they may have.

Where appropriate, please make contact direct with Andy Goulbourne from Perkins Slade a.goulbourne@perkins-slade.com 0121 698 8057 or call Dave Stubley to discuss further.

Rugby Shorts

See attached the latest edition of Rugby Shorts. For more grassroots rugby stories on EnglandRugby.com, click HERE.

If you have a grassroots news story for EnglandRugby.com, please email JoeOgden@rfu.com with details and he will endeavour to include over the coming weeks.









6 December 2016

Welcome to the latest Community Game Update


Age Grade Rugby from the 2017-18 Season

  • RFU Council endorses timetable for full Age Grade Rugby transition in 2017-18
  • National Age Grade Playing Calendar released for 2017-18
  • Competition and Rep Rugby Organisers in CBs, CSUs and Academies to localise National Calendar for their area together
  • New National advisory group to listen to the views of Age Grade clubs.  

RFU Council today endorsed the timetable to fully implement changes to Age Grade Rugby from the 2017-18 season. 

The changes, introduced from September 2016, are for all rugby played at Under 18 and younger.  Based on four years of research, the wants and needs of all young people are at the heart of the Age Grade changes.  They are designed to help more young people enjoy the game for longer and into their adult years.

So far this season, full compliance with the changes to the game and its regulations is developing. For the remainder of the 2016-17 season, proactive support will be given to those in genuine transition towards the new regulations and those resisting the change, as with any of the Union’s Regulations, could face disciplinary action.

For the 2017-18 season onwards, full transition to the Age Grade changes and regulations will be the drive.  This will ensure that across the country the Age Grade game is player-centred, development-driven and competition-supported.

The 2017/18 Age Grade Playing Calendar has been released. Organisers in CBs, CSUs and Academies will now work together to insert local competition, representative rugby and pathway activity by the start of February 2017.  After this is signed off by the RFU, they will promote their local calendar and facilitate dialogue between clubs, schools, colleges, Academies and Representative rugby personnel to agree a balanced playing programme for all young players.

Council also backed the introduction early in 2017 of a national advisory group to represent the views of the Age Grade game in clubs. This will provide a channel from our clubs and Constituent Bodies to help shape the future of Age Grade rugby alongside education institutions.

Safeguarding in rugby

The RFU is committed to safeguarding the welfare of children in rugby.

We have worked closely with the Child Protection In Sport Unit (CPSU) within the NSPCC to develop robust policy and procedures to safeguard children, achieving the CPSU's National Advanced Standards for safeguarding and protecting children in sport. Working closely with all England’s rugby clubs and statutory agencies, the RFU prioritises the safeguarding of children in the sport. Any allegation, suspicion of harm, or concern, is taken seriously and responded to swiftly, fairly and appropriately.

Please Read the RFU’s safeguarding policy here.

Any person involved in rugby union must report all safeguarding concerns of which they become aware to the RFU Safeguarding Team

Details on reporting an incident can be found here.

More details on safeguarding have been distributed to Club Safeguarding Officers and CB Safeguarding Managers.

If you receive any media enquiries on safeguarding issues please do feel free to contact veritywilliams@rfu.com and gemmacobb@rfu.com in the RFU communications team who are happy to offer any support or advice.




14 November 2016 - Update No.34 

Welcome to the latest Community Game Update 

Coordinated Consultation of Representative and Aspirational Programmes 

The CGB recognises that it is important to have a coordinated consultation of CBs on both qualitative and quantitative outcomes around the player pathway and preparation of players in the community game to get a holistic view of opinions from CBs, CSUs, individuals and clubs. As such, an introduction and questions were circulated to all CB Hon Secs and Council on October 17 for wider feedback, with next steps outlined below: 

Next Steps:

1.       CB Hon Sec to print off introduction email and question sheet, and ensure this topic is on agenda at relevant CB meeting (or through EGM).  CBs to discuss as a whole CB Exec (including where possible CSUs in Geographic CBs) and respond to the questions – From Oct 18th to Nov 24th (6 weeks)

·       CB Hon Sec to send whole CB response either via email on question sheet attached or via scanned hard copy, or original hard copy to:

1..1              benlowe@rfu.com OR Ben Lowe, Rugby House, Twickenham, Whitton Road, TW2 7BA

1..2             Deadline is Nov 25th. Responses after this time cannot be considered due to planning timescales, and a zero response by this time will mean that this area is deemed of low importance by the CB

1..3             Any questions please email benlowe@rfu.com 

Responses will be collated and presented to CGB on 1st Dec alongside the latest status of the various reviews into Developing Player Programme, Constituent Body Age Grade Representative Rugby funding, and The England Counties Aspirational Teams, and taken into Business Planning for due consideration.

 For Information

 All items below for: CB Hon Sec, CB Treasurer, Club Hon Sec, Club Hon Treasurer

International Ticket Policy 

RFU voting clubs, Constituent Bodies and Referees Societies will have recently received details of the new international tickets purchasing system, which applies from the Old Mutual Wealth Series this autumn. 

Each RFU voting club receives an initial ticket allocation, known as the Guaranteed Minimum Allocation, calculated on league status and a range of factors, including numbers of qualified coaches and teams throughout the club.  These apply until at least 2017/18, except where a voting club’s allocation alters due to promotion or relegation. 

It is estimated that a club who did not previously sell more than about 10 tickets per match to an Official Licensed Operator, will be better off. 

The RFU sells 50% of tickets available to the game at the Ticket Entitlement Price. Tickets initially sold for hospitality, to visiting unions and the Official Licensed are at the Standard Price, which is always higher than the Ticket Entitlement Price.  The difference between these prices, known as the premium, is placed in the supplemental pot. 

At the end of the season, the value of the Supplemental Pot is expected to stand at about £1.6m.  This will be divided equally between all clubs and paid annually in May, with the first payment due in 2017. 

More ticket information and a help facility are available on England Rugby Official Ticketing Website 

N-Pro Head Gear 

Some of you may be aware of a new headgear product called N-Pro which has just launched and has received some media coverage.  

We have been advised that the head guard currently does not meet World Rugby specifications and is being evaluated by the developers. Until this process is complete, World Rugby has requested that the headgear is not worn in any rugby match and this information is communicated to any players who may wish to wear the product.

The England Rugby RugbySafe online Essential Guides and FAQs provide useful information and guidelines on a number of player welfare issues including the use of head guards and other protective equipment.  For more information, click HERE.

Don’t be a HEADCASE is the RFUs concussion awareness programme. For key information and guidance on concussion, click HERE. 

Young Rugby Ambassador (YRA) Update 

Saturday 5th November saw the second YRA conference, this time held in Birmingham. Young Ambassadors came together from across the country and took part in two workshops focusing on bringing their ideas to life through networking with RFU colleagues and other YRAs and an Apprentice style challenge focusing on the pressures and challenges of running a rugby club.

YRAs attending the workshops were asked to make a pledge to what they will achieve over the next few months in their local area. Ideas ranged from recruiting other YRAs in their club, to growing the girls’ game in their school and recruiting more young referees to help support tournaments and competitive opportunities for young players. 

For more information on the YRA programme contact your RDO or visit: www.englandrugby.com/YRA. We aim to reach a total of 1,500 YRAs by the end of the season, with 200 new clubs represented in the programme.  

 YRA stats update:

·       1,001 YRAs across England

·       282 YRAs logging at least ten hours

·       In excess of 12,500 hours logged, to date

Of YRAs who have logged hours:

·       151 are coaching

·       72 are refereeing

·       44 are volunteering in administrative roles

·       The majority of YRAs logging at least 10 hours (148) are volunteers in their local clubs







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