England RFU confirms financial blow of Covid-19

England RFU chief Bill Sweeney has confirmed that the governing body will have to make a quarter of its staff redundant due to the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The degree to which rugby’s most financially powerful union had been affected by coronavirus was laid bare on Monday as the RFU confirmed that it was facing £107 million in lost revenue.

England rugby’s governing body further confirmed that it has plans to make a quarter of its positions redundant in which 139 people will lose their jobs in order to cope with the financial losses.

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The RFU has begun a consultation process for the redundancies among its 580 staff, with the results expected to be announced in August. No area of England rugby will be ringfenced, with England’s elite men and women’s programmes expected to be affected.

The RFU had already furloughed 60% of its staff and implemented far-reaching pay cuts across the board which have extended to both Sweeney and England head coach Eddie Jones.

Sweeney said in an open letter that it could take England rugby five years to recover from the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has halted the 2020 rugby calendar.

‘We are having to make difficult decisions on what we can continue to invest in as well as what is the right size and shape of our business for the future,’ Sweeney said.

‘To ensure we have a sustainable RFU we have announced to colleagues that it is proposed that the total number of roles across the organisation will reduce by 139. This will be a difficult process, but we will be consulting with colleagues in a fair way to completely remodel our business.

‘Our detailed scenario modelling shows there may be a short-term impact of £107m in lost revenues and we also know there will be a much longer-term effect.

‘We are projecting a 4-5 year recovery with cumulative revenue reductions of around 20 per cent.’

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