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Six months without fans could be fatal warns Gloucester Rugby boss

Gloucester Rugby chief executive Lance Bradley has warned the club and professional rugby will struggle to survive if they cannot have fans at matches for six months.

Around 1,000 fans watched Gloucester's defeat to Harlequins earlier this month as part of a pilot scheme which was set to see fans beginning to return from next month.

But fresh government coronavirus restrictions have put that on hold with a warning they could be in place for up to six months - a delay Mr Bradley says could deliver a killer blow.

He told the Daily Telegraph six months without fans will see the club run out of cash with a predicted loss of revenue of £6.2 million.

He said: "We will not be able to survive with no fans until March, unless there is an intervention. And we are by no means the worst. There are probably half a dozen clubs in more difficult positions than us and they will go out of business, too.

He told the Press Association: "We can't just shut everything down for six months.

"I don't want to sound over-dramatic but it can't be for six months if we want to have professional rugby survive in the format that we know.

"If we're not allowed to have fans for an extended period, then some kind of financial support to overcome that would certainly help."

Club owner Martin St Quenton has said Gloucester need 8,000 fans at a match at Kingsholm to break even.

In his regular message to fans, Mr Bradley confirmed he was having talks with Gloucester MP Richard Graham and Gloucester City Council leader Councillor Richard Cook.

And Premiership club owners and chief executives were due to meet today to discuss the issue - which is forecast to have a combined hit on revenue of £120million.

Mr Bradley's message to fans said: "We heavily rely on the income from match days and to go without it for an additional six months will be devastating.

"We also recognise how important it is for you to be able to watch your team, and how difficult it would be to go for another six months unable to do so.

"We are also exploring other means of supporting the club financially if we cannot welcome you back to Kingsholm for six months."

Rugby below the second tier of English rugby - everything under the Championship, which features Hartpury - will not resume until at least January.

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