ST HELENS' MPs Conor McGinn and Marie Rimmer have penned a letter to the Chancellor calling for "swift and decisive action" to help rugby league clubs during the coronavirus crisis.

READ MORE > MPs write to Chancellor calling for 'swift and decisive action' to help rugby league clubs

The full letter, dated Monday, April 6, reads:

"Dear Chancellor,

"We are writing to you regarding the financial position of rugby league clubs during the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak.

"The suspension of all fixtures, until further notice, whilst being an essential and correct response to the public health emergency we currently find ourselves in, has had a profoundly detrimental impact on clubs such as St Helens RFC.

"We understand the immense task facing you and civil servants across government, not least at this moment. These unprecedented times are a challenge for all of us, but there has not been one single public statement on the issue of support for the game of rugby league at all, all while the professional game stands at risk and amateur clubs move towards the brink of collapse. The need for support is both real and urgent.

"Rugby league clubs sit at the very heart of many communities in the north of England, including our own across St Helens borough. They are central to our cultural life and play a vital role in our communities, from undertaking a great deal of charitable work, promoting public health and mental wellbeing to supporting veteran organisations. In our role as local MPs, we work closely with St Helens RFC and have seen first-hand the monumental contribution to society and the dear place they hold in the hearts and minds of the wider community.

"Many rugby league clubs are also in a unique financial position. Contrary to the elite football clubs of similar stature, many of whom have the financial security to overcome precarious stretches, often the profit margins for rugby league clubs are slim, or non-existent. This makes the suspension of Super League and all other fixtures all the more perilous, given the significant revenue lost at the gates.

"It is also critical to mention that, unlike the vast majority of clubs, St Helens RFC is the owner of its 18,000-capacity stadium, which means all additional revenue lost on its world-class hospitality, weddings, corporate conferences and events packages poses heightened financial challenges.

"The loss of these clubs, many of whom are now over a century old, would be a profound and unacceptable loss for our communities, as well as communities right across the north, who will be losing much more than the enjoyment of a game every week - or indeed the thrill of a win or disappointment in defeat. In fact they will be losing a vital and much-loved force for good in our communities and an essential and enduring part of our local cultural heritage and identity.

"That is why we are urging you, Chancellor, along with the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, to now act swiftly and decisively on this issue, before it is simply too late for many rugby league clubs across our country."