But, during States questions, Deputy Lindsay Ash said that supporting the professional rugby club is vital for Jersey’s ‘reputation’ and the economic boost it provided heavily outweighed the funding it received.
Last week it was revealed that Jersey Reds were awarded £150,000 for ‘support through the remaining 2018/19 season’ by Treasury Minister Susie Pinel on the recommendation of the Investment Appraisal Board.
The club was among 14 organisations that successfully bid for funding from the States, as the minister announced £5 million of spending on projects last week.
During States question time, Deputy Mike Higgins asked the minister to clarify why the club, which had to sell its ground two years ago due to financial problems, had received this funding.
In response, Assistant Treasury Minister Lindsay Ash said that it was ‘bridge funding’ and would be reviewed along with other sports functions in the Island at the end of the season.
‘From a reputational point of view it would have not been a good idea if we had not provided that funding as Jersey Reds might not have been able to complete the season,’ he added.
‘[That] would have let down a considerable amount of clubs in the UK and a loss of revenue caused to them. As an upstanding financial centre that wouldn’t have sent out a particularly good message.’
He added: ‘It also is the only professional club in the Island and provides a tremendous economic value. For instance, it is widely believed that for every visitor that comes over in that capacity they spend £300 here.
‘London Irish the other day brought 1,000 visitors – that’s £300,000 on one particular day. Bearing in mind a lot of this is in the winter and the flights that are brought in here, it’s very beneficial.’
During the session, Deputy Ash was asked by Senator Kristina Moore to confirm how many bids for funding had been made to the Investment Appraisal Board.
‘One hundred business cases were received requesting around £75 million by the end of 2019 and a further £25 million by the end of 2020,’ he said.
‘The board is still in the process of making final recommendations to the minister but so far she has approved 14 allocations – these were regarded as the most urgent.
‘No requests have been rejected at this stage and some of them will need to be considered further as we put together the government plan for 2020.’
He added that cases were considered on their strategic, economic, commercial, financial and management merits.