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RFU anticipating losses of up to £50m

Bill Sweeney, chief executive of England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU), has estimated that the body will post losses of between £45m (€49m/$54m) and £50m over the next 18 months due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Sweeney said that the closure of Twickenham Stadium will have a “significant impact” on revenues that the RFU can generate to reinvest back into the game. It comes after the RFU confirmed last week that all league, cup and county rugby, except the top-tier Premiership, would end following the Covid-19 outbreak.

Sweeney said that the body has a firm plan in place to mitigate the revenue losses, adding that the RFU Executive Board will take a cut in remuneration in excess of 25 per cent. Combined Board fees will also be reduced by 75 per cent.

The BBC said that Eddie Jones will not be among those to take a pay cut, although the report added that the RFU is “looking into measures” which could see the England head coach and other members of the coaching team have their salaries reduced.

The RFU had budgeted for a loss-making year within a four-year cycle due to the costs of the Rugby World Cup campaign in 2019, coupled with Twickenham only hosting two Six Nations matches this year.

The RFU held a virtual board meeting yesterday (Wednesday) and it was agreed that the body will offer a support package worth £7m to help community clubs in England. The package includes an early release of £800,000 in cash due to clubs through the ticketing fund.

Discussions are also being held with the government and the NHS on how the RFU and Twickenham can be used in supporting the Covid-19 effort. Sweeney cited the offering of volunteers, accommodation, parking and meal provision as ways in which the RFU could lend a hand.

Sweeney added that progress is being made on the implications of ending the domestic rugby season early. The RFU is committed to updating on this by the middle of April.

Image: Maxwell Hamilton / /Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)/Edited for size