IWRF President Richard Allcroft issued an update to member federations ©IWRF

International Wheelchair Rugby Federation (IWRF) President Richard Allcroft has stressed the need for members to pay fees for 2020 to ensure the governing body can operate effectively amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Allcroft made the statement in a message issued to members, highlighting the work currently being undertaken by the IWRF.

He said the organisation was working on developing a revised competition structure, while Allcroft and chief executive Steve Griffiths had held a video call with the eight qualifiers for the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, which have been rescheduled to 2021.

A video call for member federations has also been organised for May 25 to update them and receive feedback on plans for the next three years.

Allcroft admitted the organisation needed to make sure it did not commit to any significant costs in 2020 due to the financial impact of the cancellation of events, with revenue from membership fees considered key.

"I have spoken with you previously about our reliance on membership and individual licensing fees," Allcroft wrote.

"This has become more apparent during these unprecedented and extraordinary times.

"Financially, we have had to ensure we do not commit to any significant costs in 2020.

"Of course, with the cancellation of events and international travel, this has reduced our costs (but also our revenue). 

"As such, member nations will need to pay their membership fees for 2020.

"Many of our member nations also have outstanding individual licensing fees from events that took place in 2019 as well as the 2020 Paralympic qualification tournament.

"These outstanding debts are also required to be paid. 

"What we will look at is how we can extend individual licensing fees into 2021 due to the fact that competition has not taken place this year.

"It is only through the recuperation of these outstanding payments that the IWRF can operate confidently throughout 2021.

"I fully understand the challenges that you will be having at the national level but this is crucial to ensure the long-term viability of our sport, WADA compliancy, as well as inclusion in the Paralympic Games."

The IWRF held a video call with the eight qualifiers for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games ©Getty Images
The IWRF held a video call with the eight qualifiers for the postponed Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games ©Getty Images

Allcroft added that Griffiths has been evaluating the organisation during the crisis, conducting an assessment over various areas including membership services and overall global structure of the sport.

The organisation is set to create a central office to deal with services identified, with further details expected to be outlined to members in the coming months.

"One particular area of importance is our online Membership and Licensing System," Allcroft said.

"This was launched in early 2019 and we are aware that nations and individuals were allowed to participate without being members or licensed.

"This is something that we cannot allow in the future.

"There will be some disruptions in communications as we work through this and we will aim to minimise it as much as possible.

"I hope you can be patient with us, as we set up this much-needed membership service."

Allcroft also confirmed the IWRF has postponed the organisation’s 2020 General Assembly until 2021.

No date has yet been confirmed due to uncertainty over international travel and the ability to hold large gatherings.