The Samoa Rugby Union is facing a loss of one million Tala over past six months as the financial fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic begins to bite.

Samoa was one of the first countries in the world to lockdown because of the coronavirus in March. The State of Emergency was recently extended until the end of September, despite the country remaining Covid free.

The SRU’s General Manager of High Performance, Seumanu Douglas Ngau Chun, said a number of sponsors had pulled the plug, leaving the union facing a $US387,000 shortfall since the start of the pandemic.

“We’re experiencing sponsorships being pulled out. We can’t blame the sponsors, we understand this, but the good thing is we had discussions with them and they’ve been very up front,” he said.

“We have to deal with the current situation we are facing as a nation and as an organisation as well.”

An extended 45-man Manu Samoa sevens squad was announced on Monday but Seumanu admitted the union cannot afford to contract any players right now, putting the team’s preparations for the 2021 World Series and the Olympic Games qualifier in jeopardy.

“We’re not in a position to contract any of our players and there’s a lot of recruitment that needs to be done and it’s all on hold,” he said.

“Samoa Rugby Union is forecasting a one million tala loss within this period so it’s unfortunate. We’re still trying our best to be mindful of our spending and thanks to our treasurer, our financial controller, that he’s been very tight with handling our finances and the survival since of Samoa Rugby Union at this tough times with Covid-19.”

The Fiji Rugby Union announced in April it would be slashing costs in response to the coronavirus outbreak, with staff, players, coaches and consultants have reducing to three days a week among a range of measures to ease the financial burden.

The SRU have not had to cut any jobs at this point but Seumanu admitted if the global situation does not improve they could be heading that way.

“We’re still considering other options to secure funds for us,” he said.

“We can’t do any fundraising at this time but the good thing is we have very supportive corporate sponsors who have been investing with us for a long time, so we’ve been working closely with them in how they can help and how can we return the favour.”

With the coronavirus continuing to scupper any hopes of international competition, the SRU said they are using the current crisis as an opportunity to focus on the local game.

“In the last four weeks we hosted our National Sevens Series and it gives us a vital opportunity to full focus on getting our competition up and running and give our local players opportune time to prepare in advance in case we have any major tournaments in the long run, especially earlier next year.”

RNZ

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