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Bill Sweeney confirms RFU to make 139 staff redundant

RFU headquarters, Twickenham

Almost a quarter of the RFU workforce is to made redundant chief executive Bill Sweeney has confirmed.

As the union grapples with £107m in lost revenue due to the global health crisis, Sweeney has said job losses are required to uphold the financial sustainability of the RFU.

“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,” Sweeney said.

“This will be a difficult process, but we will be consulting with colleagues in a fair way to completely remodel our business.

“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 consultation period with staff is expected to be concluded by the end of the month.

It marks a troublesome five months for the union which has seen its 2020 rugby calendar heavily disrupted.

No rugby has been played at Twickenham since the penultimate round of the Six Nations, with a trip to Rome left in limbo.

And despite talks ongoing about the October-December Test window potentially seeing Wales play their ‘home’ matches at Twickenham, former BOA boss stressed the financial impact of the pandemic will be prolonged.

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.

“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.

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