Welsh union receives £13.5m COVID-19 rescue package

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(Reuters) - Welsh rugby has secured a 13.5 million pounds ($18.48 million) funding package from the government that will help soften the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Welsh Rugby Union's (WRU) chief executive Steve Phillips has said.

The grant will be divided equally among the WRU and the country's four professional regions -- Cardiff Blues, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets, the BBC said https://www.bbc.com/sport/wales/55768668.

"During a challenging time we have found Welsh Government and Sport Wales accessible, responsive and sympathetic to the plight of our game in Wales," Phillips was quoted as saying by BBC.

"With the ongoing nature of the pandemic, nobody is able to predict with any certainty when crowds will be back into stadia, allowing our income streams to return to normal. So this £13.5m grant is timely and hugely helpful."

The grant is in addition to the 20 million pound loan the WRU had secured in September.

The government will also provide 1.5 million pounds to Welsh football, 1.2 million pounds to horse racing and 1 million pounds to cricket, the BBC said.

($1 = 0.7305 pounds)

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)