Sale Sharks director of rugby Steve Diamond believes professional rugby in England could be on the brink of collapse if the coronavirus pandemic rages on.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Diamond said his Sale Sharks club is one of many that would not be able to survive a continued period of matches behind closed doors.
‘The worst-case scenario, and it’s not scare-mongering to say we would have to look at this, is that the industry would die across the board,’ he said.
‘It’s not just Sale. Leicester rely on 20,000 people [coming to games] to keep them going. Bath rely on 14,000 spectators week in, week out. It’s the whole professional game as we know it.
‘And at the very top, the RFU are in the same boat – as is all other sport. It looks like only Premier League football is OK.
‘We’re not a standalone industry. Every industry is going through it, but our business relies on people coming through the gates.
‘Central funding has been cut enormously because the RFU is making no money and you can’t live off your TV money. The TV money that comes in is far less than what the salary cap is.
‘We’re all in a very poor state. Everybody is haemorrhaging money and the haemorrhage is going to be too excessive for some clubs. It is a dire situation.
‘We’ve already cut players’ wages. They have not done that in football. All the staff have taken pay cuts and you can’t keep doing that. There has to be some sort of termination or some help.’
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