England rugby: RFU chief Bill Sweeney confirms redundancies planned for 139 staff
Sweeney: "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"
Last Updated: 06/07/20 5:49pm
Bill Sweeney has confirmed the RFU plans to make 139 staff redundant as it looks to cope with £107m in lost revenues in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
A consultation process has begun at Twickenham over the cost-cutting measures and nearly a quarter of all RFU staff could lose their jobs under the proposals.
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RFU chief executive Sweeney says it could take the governing body five years to recover from the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has heavily disrupted 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," said Sweeney, in an open letter to the rugby community on Monday.
"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."
Sweeney added: "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."
The RFU had already implemented a series of cost-cutting measures in its initial response to the coronavirus pandemic but Sweeney says further cuts need to be made to ensure its survival.
He said: "We furloughed 60 per cent of our organisation; implemented a three-month pay reduction which has been extended for some; introduced pension pauses; and refined business planning and introduced stadium and office running efficiencies to reduce costs.
"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 still stand, but the impact of COVID-19 will continue to affect us for many years to come."