NCA Chairman John Inverdale believes the government’s rescue package of £300 million of emergency funding for sports in England will be a big boost for rugby union. Photo Credit: (Ceri Davies)

The scheme, which was announced on Thursday, will be introduced in order to protect sports which have been impacted by the absence of spectators because of coronavirus.

The clubs below the Greene King IPA Championship will receive £23 million of the £135 million which has been allocated to rugby union, with £44 million of that going to the RFU.

Inverdale hopes NCA clubs will be among the beneficiaries, but revealed it will come down to an application process, details of which will become clearer over the next few days.

The overall package of £300 million to a multitude of sports is made up largely of loans.

The news is a massive boost with the pandemic having impacted the community game. Competitive adult leagues for the season have already had to be cancelled due to coronavirus but an NCA Cup competition has now been proposed for 2021.

RFU CEO Bill Sweeney added: “This recognises the vital role that sport plays in the health of the nation and rugby volunteers and facilities across the whole of the country will play a crucial role in reuniting communities when we are able to do so.

“The RFU is very reassured that Government recognises the difficult circumstances and unique challenges being faced by the whole of the rugby union family and we are grateful for this much- needed support and consideration in addition to the initial programmes that have been provided.

“We will continue to work with Government on the detailed follow up discussions to find the appropriate balance between loans and grants for the different areas of the game and the models for review and distribution.”