I hope you and your family are keeping well during these challenging times and you enjoyed an extended Easter holiday with your loved ones - whether at home or through video calls!
I wanted to write to you today to update you on the measures we have put in place to safeguard the future of Cardiff Blues and developments at Cardiff Arms Park.
The last few weeks have been some of the most challenging I have ever encountered and I am sure that has also been the case for many of you.
At this point it would also be irremissible of me not to thank and pay tribute to the NHS staff and other key workers battling this pandemic.
Their bravery, dedication and professionalism is certainly an inspiration to all of us and I pass on the sincere thanks of everyone at Cardiff Blues.
Throughout this entire process the one over-arching objective of the Professional Rugby Board is to ensure the survival of all five professional entities in Wales and we have now put a number of measures into place to enable that.
Earlier this month we implemented a temporary salary reduction to our staff, which also incorporates the players, and we are also utilising the Government’s furlough scheme.
The company is under immediate and extreme financial pressure so it is the most appropriate action. These are necessary measures to ensure we are fully functioning when rugby resumes and for the long-term.
Everyone at Cardiff Blues understands the importance of protecting the long-term future of the company and with these, and other, cost-saving measures now in place, I am confident we can come through this global crisis together.
A small management team plus some of our communications and operations team are continuing to work to maintain our digital presence and to assist with the build of the Dragon’s Heart hospital.
The scale and speed of the project is eye-opening and as soon as we knew about it, we offered Cardiff and Vale UHB our facilities, with the full support of Cardiff Athletic Club.
I am very proud of the small part we are playing in this and I must also thank our operations team led by Jamie Muir, Matt Jones and Jason Chapman for the huge amount of work they are putting in to assist.
During the building phase of the new hospital the Arms Park is providing support in terms of logistics and storage. When complete we will house canteens, catering facilities and a welfare centre for staff.
I must also put on record the thanks of myself and the Cardiff Blues board to CAC and their chairman Keith Morgan, who have agreed to a three month deferral on our lease payments.
On the rugby side of things, while we do not know what the current or 2020-21 season will look like, we are still planning for the future.
Progress is being made on next season’s squad, however given the current climate we do not believe it is appropriate to make any comments or announcements at this time. All of our focus should be on navigating through this crisis.
While there has been no live rugby, I hope you have been enjoying the live streams, podcasts and other pieces of content our communications team have been putting together. It has been great to re-live some of our finest moments in the company of those involved on the day!
My congratulations also goes to Martin Jenkins, who won our inaugural virtual pub quiz. We will continue to host the quiz each Thursday, pausing for the NHS applause and with John Mulvihill hosting so it would be great to see you on there.
We will continue to update you on any developments on the resumption of rugby both in terms of the current season and 20-21, and the situation at the Arms Park when possible.
However, the focus of all of us at this time should be on keeping each other safe, following Government guidelines and the protection of the NHS.
Our sincere thoughts are with any of our Cardiff Blues family, who have been affected by Coronavirus, and are sympathies go to all of those who have lost loved ones.
Please stay safe