Women's Sport: USA Rugby files for bankruptcy as COVID-19 takes toll

USA Rugby has filed for a chapter 11 bankruptcy as a result of “insurmountable financial constraints” in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. All competitions and rugby activities were suspended on the 20th March due to the global pandemic.

The women and men’s teams will continue to compete as normal when rugby returns, while USA Rugby will undergo a restructuring process with input from World Rugby.

The governing body described the decision as the best way to “deliver a foundation for future stability”.

USA Rugby’s chair, Barbara O’Brien, said in a statement at the Guardian:

“This is the most challenging period this organisation has faced, and all resolves were never taken lightly in coming to this determination.

“While the current climate is of course much larger than rugby, we remain focused with stakeholders and supporters in the continued effort toward a balanced rugby community where the game can truly grow.” 

Rugby is one of the fastest-growing sports in the US in a Nielsen report.

In 2016, the total number of registered players increased from 2.82 million to 3.2 million, while the total number of non-registered rugby players rose from 4.91 million to 5.3 million. Almost two million children were also introduced to the sport via World Rugby’s Get Into Rugby programme during the year.

Both USA women’s and men’s teams had qualified for this summer’s Olympics in Tokyo. The Games have now been postponed until 2021 because of the COVID-19 outbreak.

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