RFU cuts 139 jobs as impact of Covid-19 will be felt for years to come

Gallagher Premierships clubs braced for sharp decline in funding

The Rugby Football Union plans to make almost a quarter of its staff redundant in the face of a predicted £107 million loss in revenue.

A process for the redundancies among the RFU’s 580 staff has begun. No area, including the England elite men’s group or the women’s game will escape from the cut backs.

The RFU have already furloughed 60 per cent of its staff and imposed wide ranging pay cuts.

Chief Executive of the RFU Bill Sweeney said,

“Unfortunately, this is not enough to run a sustainable operation and safeguard our future. We need to maintain our organisation for the long term, this is not a short-term cost reduction exercise.The RFU will stand, but the impact of Covid-19 will continue to affect us for many years to come.”

“We like many rugby clubs, rely on revenue from matches and events at Twickenham Stadium and we reinvest this revenue back into the game.”

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

Sweeney has promised to prioritise three key areas.

The community game, the performance arena and introducing rugby union at junior level, with an emphasis on increasing diversity.

Savings will also have to be considered in other areas too.

The agreement for England men’s players match fees, which amount to £25,000 a game, has ended. Negotiations are on-going, but the new rate is certainly going to be significantly lower.

Premiership clubs are bracing themselves for a sharp drop in the funding they receive from the Professional Game Agreement.

The first four years of the deal guaranteed an annual payment of £29 million, but the remaining four years are now tied to the revenue from the RFU.

Meanwhile, the Premiership is close to finalising the remainder of its 2019-20 season, which would feature three rounds of midweek games, intending to be staged in the weeks beginning August 24th, September 7th and September 21st.

This will no doubt prompt concerns over player welfare, with Exeter Chiefs, Northampton Saints and Saracens, ending up playing nine games in six weeks.