Search

Coronavirus: Rugby postponement into 2021 would be ‘catastrophic’

PUBLISHED: 14:30 05 May 2020

England and Wales line up for the Guinness Six Nations match at Twickenham Stadium

England and Wales line up for the Guinness Six Nations match at Twickenham Stadium

PA Wire/PA Images

Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney has described the prospect of the sport being postponed into 2021 as “catastrophic”.

Sweeney was giving evidence to the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport committee on Tuesday about the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on sport and said rugby union in England would need a Government bailout if next year’s Six Nations could not be played.

“That would be catastrophic, 85 per cent of our income comes from hosting men’s international games at Twickenham,” he said.

“Twickenham is a major asset for us. When you own a stadium it is a major cost and at the same time brings in large revenue.

“If this was to be prolonged and the Six Nations games were impacted, then it would be a catastrophic impact on rugby union in England. We would be looking at some very severe situations.

“We would like to thank the Government for what was put in place very quickly. If we are one of the last cabs off the rank because of the contact and characteristics, we would need extra help.

“We have 60 per cent of our staff furloughed. If Six Nations matches are off in 2021 then there would be a limit in what we could do and we would have to go to the Government for extra support.”

This year’s Six Nations is pencilled in to be completed in October and November, with England due to play autumn internationals afterwards.

However, that could still be in doubt and Sweeney says the governing body will lose £107million if they are cancelled.

He said: “If the autumn internationals go ahead in November, which are key for us, we will still lose £32million in revenue.

“If they go ahead but behind closed doors that is a negative impact of £85m and if they are cancelled entirely that will be £107m on top of the £15m we have already lost.

“So it is a very significant loss of revenue and we are doing what we can to mitigate it.”

Sweeney also said that sport could take up to six years to recover from the financial impact of the crisis.

“Our financial model is strong. Owning Twickenham is good for us and we are not spending money that we don’t have to spend,” he said.

“We have implemented cost reductions that allowed us to claw back £13m but that has gone now.

“It is not going to be a short-term issue, we are looking at a four, five, six-year recovery plan.

“Our financial year ending next month, we are not in a bad situation. If we have no rugby played, it would a £107m loss. We are targeting between £20m-25m in savings.”


If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the East London Advertiser. Click the link in the orange box below for details.

Latest East London Sports News

Yesterday, 15:00

Boxing is back, after a lockdown lasting longer than expected, with some exciting championship clashes at the BT Studios in east London on Friday.

Yesterday, 14:41

West Ham United Women will have a new training base for the 2020-21 Super League season.

Yesterday, 11:09

West Ham United Women have announced extended contracts for five of their players leading into the 2020-21 season.

Yesterday, 08:00

With the Premier League back in action for the past couple of weeks after more than three months away due to the coronavirus pandemic, why not celebrate with another sports quiz?

Yesterday, 07:27

West Ham boss David Moyes warned his players they might have to fight all the way to the final kick of the season to preserve their Premier League status.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Jonjo Shelvey denied West Ham a crucial victory in their fight for Premier League survival as Newcastle twice came from behind to snatch a point.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

David Moyes admits he cannot begin planning for next season until West Ham have secured their Premier League survival.

Saturday, July 4, 2020

England have named a 13-man squad for their long-awaited return to Test cricket against the West Indies next week, preferring Joe Denly to the uncapped Dan Lawrence and confirming Dom Bess as number one spinner.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The NHS Test and Trace service brings together testing, contact tracing and outbreak management into an end-to-end service to stop the spread of the virus and help us move out of lockdown.

The UK Government has launched a campaign to shine a light on businesses and employees across the country who have responded to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic in remarkable ways and are now going back to business.

Veterans are providing vital skills across a range of projects to help the country tackle the current coronavirus outbreak. From helping to build Nightingale Hospitals to delivering essential supplies to those who are shielding, they have helped thousands of people across the country. We take a look at how one such veteran is helping out.

Most read sport

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Docklands and East London Advertiser
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Most Read

Latest from the East London Advertiser