Coronavirus: Cardiff Blues plan for devastating pandemic effect

Cardiff Blues appointed Richard Holland as their new chief executive to replace Robert Norster in December 2011
Cardiff Blues appointed Richard Holland as their new chief executive to replace Robert Norster in December 2011

Cardiff Blues chief executive Richard Holland has told fans the region have a plan to cope with the devastating impact coronavirus has had on Welsh rugby.

The Blues face a revenue reduction of between £4m and £6m depending on how long the Covid-19 crisis continues.

In an email to season tickets holders and supporters, Holland admitted the region faced significant challenges.

Training and initial matches will also be held away from the Arms Park.

Holland insisted they were not the only side to face such problems.

Holland also said the Blues were humbled after revealing some supporters had offered to gift any value back to the club which he described as a "very generous gesture."

Season ticket holders still have four Pro14 home matches scheduled at the Arms Park this season.

"We have been planning for several eventualities in the past month and are grateful for your patience and understanding during this period," wrote Holland.

"This global crisis has had a devastating impact on Welsh rugby and we continue to face significant challenges. We are not alone in this and we have a plan in place.

"We have been planning for several eventualities in the past month. We are continuing to work with our colleagues at a Professional Rugby Board (PRB) level to secure the immediate and long-term future of professional rugby in Wales.

"A substantial amount of work is being done and with a collective effort, I am confident we can come through these challenges together."

Pro14 have yet to officially announce the return of the 2019-20 season with an August 22 date pencilled in and regional return to training planned at the beginning of July.

Cardiff Blues are looking for training and playing facilities with their Arms Park base currently assisting the Dragons's Heart Hospital which is based inside the Principality Stadium.

"There is now light at the end of the tunnel and we are hopeful we will have more information and certainty regarding the remainder of the 2019-20 season and the new 2020-21 season in the coming days," said Holland.

Cardiff Arms Park has been turned into a staff welfare centre with catering facilities and headquarters for the Dragon's Heart Hospital based in the Principality Stadium.
Cardiff Arms Park has been turned into a staff welfare centre with catering facilities and headquarters for the Dragon's Heart Hospital based in the Principality Stadium.

"A huge amount of work has already gone into ensuring we have the relevant protocols, procedures and facilities in place to ensure we are compliant with Government, World Rugby and Welsh Rugby Union regulations, when the time comes.

"Clearly, with the Arms Park still part of the Dragons's Heart Hospital, we are unable to train or play at the ground and we have therefore sought alternative facilities and arrangements, which we will announce in due course."

Holland said announcing any new squad changes seemed "insensitive" at this time and insisted health remained the main priority.

"Supporting our colleagues at the Cardiff and Vale University Health Board remains a priority and Cardiff Arms Park will remain available for greater good for as long is required," added Holland.

"It has been an incredibly challenging time for all of us but we have also been heartened by the way the Cardiff Blues family has pulled together.

"Once this pandemic subsides, which it will, and we can all be at the Arms Park together we will commemorate those we have lost, the incredible work of the NHS in our region and the role our iconic home has played in that."

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