The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) has thrown a €500,000 lifeline to rugby clubs who are struggling amid the COVID-19 crisis.
Today the Taoiseach Leo Varadkar confirmed that all sport is cancelled until at least April 19 which effectively puts an end to the 2019/20 domestic rugby season.
The IRFU had already directed clubs to put plans in place for the 2020/21 season last week.
In a statement released on Tuesday evening it was announced that following a review of its financial position, the Union has agreed to the funding which the clubs have been informed of directly.
It goes on to lay out what the IRFU is doing for clubs at this time.
1. We have agreed to funding of €500,000 to be made available to clubs. We will come back with further detail as soon as is practicable.
2. We will put in place a moratorium on all club loan repayments for four months from April 1st.
The statement adds: "Loans in excess of €4 million have been made available to clubs by the IRFU under its current Financial Assistance Scheme.
"A moratorium on all club loan repayments will be put in place for a period of four months, effective from April 1st, 2020.
"This will benefit the 56 clubs with payments outstanding to a value of over €150,000 during this period."
The IRFU also "encourages all of its clubs to draw on any government assistance available to them."
"The IRFU are in ongoing contact with Sport Ireland and will provide updates with specific information on how this relates to rugby."
Last week the IRFU announced its plans with regard to the incomplete AIL season.
"There will be no promotion or relegation in any of the five divisions of the Energia Men’s All-Ireland League.
"The planned expansion of the Energia Women’s All-Ireland League for the 2020/21 season remains in place.
"There will be no league or cup winners in any competition organised at a national level including the Energia All-Ireland Leagues, Energia Women’s All-Ireland Cup and the Energia Bateman Cup."
You can read the full details of all the COVID-19 related issues here including assistance from Sport NI.
Sport NI are looking at options that will help to mitigate the financial impact of coronavirus including:
• Contingency planning
• Working flexibly with partners
• Ensure letters of offer are issued and grants are processed on time.
• Continuing to identify, and helping to ease, the financial and other impacts of COVID-19 on the sporting sector.
Sport NI are requesting that sporting organisations in Northern Ireland contact them with information about:
• How coronavirus is impacting you or your organisation.
• The type of help you think would be most beneficial.