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COVID-19 update from Pontypool RFC CEO, Ben Jeffreys

Monday 15th June 2020
 

Good evening everyone,

Following the Welsh Rugby Union’s first ‘Return to Play’ webinar held this evening, I feel compelled to provide you with a further update on how we’re navigating Pontypool RFC through the COVID-19 pandemic.

First and foremost, I’d like to offer my sincerest thanks to the Welsh Rugby Union for how they continue to engage so openly and transparently with us as a club. I’m particularly grateful to Geraint John for his efforts in being a reliable and empathetic point of contact as we try to move forward in the most effective way possible.

I appreciate that many of you remain concerned that we still have not made any announcements regarding staff and squad retentions, acquisitions and departures - but as I mentioned in my previous update – we have been reluctant to give the impression that things are business as usual.

This is clearly an unprecedented situation and it requires us to communicate in line with the current landscape we live in. The priority for us is encouraging all of our stakeholders to remain safe and well and to follow current Welsh Government COVID-19 guidelines.

To behave as though rugby will be resuming any time soon by making a raft of announcements would be irresponsible. I feel it is more important to be transparent with you at this stage, rather than offer false hope.

Based on the information provided to us by the Welsh Rugby Union this evening, it is clear that Welsh club rugby will not be resuming for a prolonged period of time. It is also clear that when we initiate the process of returning to play, the way in which we operate will be very different to what we have become so accustomed to in recent years.

Sadly, I fear we all need to be realistic in accepting that we will be faced with a ‘new normal’ for the foreseeable future. There is clearly a long road ahead.

We anticipate that we will be provided with further details from the Welsh Rugby Union in the weeks ahead. As soon as we know more, I assure you that we will keep you fully informed at all stages.

Notwithstanding this, there has been a common thread in the questions you have raised about the future prospects of the club and I am more than happy to address the following:

Q. When does the club plan to make announcements regarding staff and squad retentions, acquisitions and departures?

A. As mentioned previously, we have avoided making such announcements to not detract from the very urgent need to focus on abiding by the current Welsh Government COVID-19 guidelines. Furthermore, all new player registrations and transfers have been halted by the Welsh Rugby Union, so we are unable to complete the procedures required to formally sign players. However, please do not mistake this for a lack of activity. We have been actively working behind the scenes on formulating a competitive team for when rugby can safely resume and we look forward to sharing our progress with you at the appropriate time.

Q. When does the club plan to make season tickets and other memberships available for purchase?

A. Because of the current uncertainty as to when rugby can safely resume operations, we do not feel it would be appropriate to sell any form of ticketing packages for next season at this moment in time. We currently have no information regarding what our league structure will look like and whether any fixtures will need to be played behind closed doors, which makes formulating a fair pricing structure prohibitive at this stage. We will keep this under review and as soon as we have a better understanding of this, we will inform supporters accordingly.

I do apologise again that I am not able to provide you with a clearer picture of the future at this stage, however I hope our commitment to being honest and transparent will give you the confidence that the club remains in good hands.

I will continue to keep you informed of developments as soon as is practically possible.

Thank you as always and please do continue to keep safe.

Best wishes,

Ben.

 

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