The Malta Rugby Football Union has turned to a crowdfunding campaign in an attempt to keep their operations alive following a year which saw all domestic and international games cancelled due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Whilst other sports have been lucky enough to get back to some semblance of normality, Malta’s rugby community has not. Since the pandemic hit the island, the sport grinded to a halt – yet running costs must be paid whether people play or not.
“Whilst we’ve done our best to manage our funds and stay afloat, we’re unable to continue like this given that we don’t have any games and thus don’t charge memberships,” George Zammit-Montebello, Vice President of the MRFU, told Lovin Malta.
“Even if we aren’t doing anything, running costs have to be paid in addition to other costs such as coaches etc,” he said.
The pandemic has hit some sectors harder than others. The sports industry ceased to exist for a few months but, following health assessments, some were allowed to continue under strict measures.
For rugby, a contact sport which can see players engage in physical contact for up to 15 seconds, the prospect of restarting during the pandemic was not on the table.
“We assessed what was happening in different countries with similar setups and we saw that it wasn’t possible and responsible to start again from our end,” Zammit-Montebello said.
“We weren’t getting any funds because there weren’t any games. The majority of clubs lost most of their cash sponsorships as a result.”
The MRFU has received some help from the Malta Olympic Committee and SportsMalta in order to stay afloat during these tough times. However, nine months into the pandemic and the situation is getting more desperate, with a lack of funding to keep operations alive for when players return to the sport.
As such, the MRFU has turned to a crowdfunding campaign in an attempt to create a bank of funds that will allow the sporting community to hit the ground running once the pandemic is over.
The funds we are asking for will see us covered for the first few months of 2021 and will help us kick things off for the domestic and international season. This allows the union to start again on good footing,” Zammit-Montebello said.
The campaign target is set at €15,000 but if the goal isn’t met, it could have dire organisation for the union.
Despite Malta’s success in rugby, the national team is still a part-time commitment, meaning players have professional commitments elsewhere. However, there are a few who rely on the MRFU for their primary source of income.
“If we aren’t able to reach the target we wouldn’t make payroll. We are a voluntary organisation but we have two full time employees and we have a responsibility to them,” Zammit-Montebello ended.
If you would like to donate to the crowdfunding campaign, you can do by following the above link.
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