July 6, 2020 / 12:55 PM / a month ago

RFU plans to make 139 jobs redundant due to COVID-19

FILE PHOTO - Rugby World Cup - Final - England Captain's Run - Fuchu Asahi Football Park, Fuchu, Tokyo - November 1, 2019 England's Piers Francis and former player Jonny Wilkinson during the captain's run REUTERS/Peter Cziborra

(Reuters) - England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU) is planning to make 139 positions redundant due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, chief executive Bill Sweeney said on Monday.

Professional rugby in England has been suspended since March and the RFU has projected a short-term revenue loss of 107 million pounds ($133.79 million) due to the closure of the Twickenham Stadium.

"As you will be aware the long-term financial challenges are significant for the whole economy. We like many rugby clubs rely on revenue from matches and events at Twickenham Stadium and we re-invest this revenue back into the game," Sweeney said in a statement here

“...We are projecting a 4-5 year recovery with cumulative revenue reductions of around 20%”

“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.”

The RFU has implemented short-term cost-cutting measures, including furloughing 60% of their staff and imposing temporary wage cuts, but Sweeney said a long-term solution was needed.

“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,” he said.

The English Premiership, which has nine rounds remaining, is hoping to resume on the weekend of Aug. 14-16 after clubs were given permission to resume close contact training last week.

On the international front, England are scheduled to host New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Australia in November.

Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Ken Ferris

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