PREMIERSHIP Rugby chief executive Darren Childs warned clubs could suffer "irreparable damage" without a "rescue package" from government. 

The statement from Childs came after prime minister Boris Johnson announced tighter Covid-19 restrictions, including professional sport having to continue to take place behind closed doors, probably for the next six months.

That would mean a year without revenue from fans through the gates for a competition which struggles to balance the books at the best of times.

“We can confirm we did hold a very positive meeting with the secretary of state, Oliver Dowden, today and there was a clear understanding of the effects that today's news will have across the sports sector, including rugby," said Childs.

“However, the announcement that supporters will not be allowed into stadiums for up to six months cuts off crucial revenue for the Premiership Rugby clubs who have already suffered significant financial losses from suspending the season and playing matches behind closed doors since March.

"We believe the lack of supporters in our grounds could cause irreparable damage to our clubs and the communities they serve so we must find a way forward to avoid this.

“As we seek solutions we look forward to working with government on a rescue package for professional club rugby in England and we will continue to seek innovative ways to overcome these challenges to ensure Premiership Rugby and its clubs have a future.”