A NEW £500,000 fund has been established by Scottish Rugby to help clubs survive the coronovirus outbreak.

The Club Hardship Fund will provide financial assistance to grassroots clubs facing cashflow and immediate financial challenges due to match postponements and function cancellations.

On Friday Scottish Rugby announced that with effect from the weekend no more domestic competition or training would take place until Sunday, March 29 at the earliest.

And it is expected the ban will continue well into next month and probably beyond.

In addition to the £500,000 Club Hardship Fund, Scottish Rugby is also accelerating its collective club support payments by a month, to April from May, to help ease the financial burden.

And the governing body will also be talking to all its key partners and stakeholders to offer further practical support.

Scottish Rugby chief executive Mark Dodson said: “These are unprecedented times and we are acutely aware of the significant day to day financial challenges our member clubs will face in the coming weeks if fixtures cannot be resumed in the mid to long term and other planned fund-raising initiatives are curtailed.

“We are creating the £500,000 Club Hardship Fund to provide clubs with the reassurance there is financial assistance available to the dedicated volunteers and staff who deliver our game in their local communities.

“It is important we act now and provide tangible, practical support during these unsettling times.

“I also want to offer, on behalf of everyone at Scottish Rugby, our very best wishes to everyone across the country at this extremely difficult time."

Clubs will be invited to apply to the Club Hardship Fund by completing and returning a claim application.

The forms and full criteria are being made available on the SRU website this week.