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RFU to cut 139 jobs to deal with £107m loss

English rugby continues to feel the financial impacts of the coronavirus pandemic after the British government announced fans will not return to stadiums for six months. David Rogers -- RFU/The RFU Collection via Getty Images

The Rugby Football Union (RFU) has announced it is to cut 139 jobs in a bid to cope with a £107 million shortfall due to the coronavirus pandemic.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney announced the cost-cutting measures in a statement on Monday.

"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.

"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%.

"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. 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."

The RFU furloughed 60% of its staff in March while the organsation's top executive team and England coach Eddie Jones took a 25% pay cut.

At that time, it was projected the RFU would lose £50m over the next 18 months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

A number of Premiership rugby clubs also announced pay cuts of 25% for their players.

In May, Sweeney said it would be "catastrophic" for the RFU if the remainder of the Six Nations and the November internationals were cancelled.

The final rounds of the Six Nations were postponed due to the pandemic while doubt over whether the November games can be held -- with or without fans -- remains.

England are due to host New Zealand, Argentina, Tonga and Australia in November.

The RFU boss told the UK government's Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee that 85% of the union's income comes from hosting games at Twickenham, where each match generates more than £10m.