Rugby Football Union to lose £45-50m as a result of the coronavirus

Twickenham being closed is a major drain on revenue for the RFU (PA Images)
10:26am, Thu 26 Mar 2020
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The Rugby Football Union is set to lose £45-50m over the next 18 months as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

All of English domestic rugby has been cancelled, with the exception of the Gallagher Premiership as bosses speak to clubs to see if they can end the season.

However, RFU president Bill Sweeney has said the closure of Twickenham throughout the outbreak will have a 'significant impact' upon the governing body's revenue.

The RFU have also put up a £7m relief fund, mainly loans, for those community clubs struggling after their season was cancelled. 

Executives within the RFU, including Sweeney, are also taking a pay cut of more than 25%. 

The pay cuts do not include England head coach Eddie Jones although it is understood his and his coaching staff's salaries are being looked at.

The RFU is introducing pay cuts which do not, at this stage, include England head coach Eddie Jones (PA Images)

Sweeney said in a statement: "The RFU had budgeted for a loss-making year within a four-year cycle due to the costs of the 2019 Rugby World Cup campaign and hosting only two home Six Nations games.

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"The loss will now be considerably more as we face challenges similar to businesses across the country.

"The RFU's biggest asset is also a major cost and the closure of Twickenham Stadium has a significant impact on the revenues we can generate to reinvest back into the game.

"In that sense we are like every other club in the Union, when we do not stage matches and events we do not generate revenue. Based on our planning assumption we estimate RFU revenue losses over the next 18 months to be approximately £45-50m and have a firm plan in place to mitigate this."

Sweeney also confirmed the RFU would update the public in mid-April on the possibility of ending the Premership season.

"We are managing in the unknown. We have modelled three potential scenarios and are working on an assumption based on a medium-term impact with a view to a return to rugby in the autumn.

"We will continue to monitor against this assumption and review and revise planning where necessary."

Addressing the current pressures on the NHS, Sweeney said: "[We are] discussing with government and the NHS the role the RFU and Twickenham Stadium can play in providing volunteers as well as support for the NHS including accommodation, parking and meal provisioning."