RFU set to cut more than 100 community jobs because of coronavirus pandemic

By Laura ScottBBC Sport
RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney
RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said the union needs to "completely remodel its business" after the Covid-19 pandemic

The Rugby Football Union is set to cut more than 100 jobs related to the community game as part of an urgent "remodelling" of the governing body.

In July, the RFU said it faced short-term revenue losses of up to £107m.

It has proposed that roles including community coaches and rugby development officers would be lost.

Sources have told BBC Sport it is not possible to achieve the necessary costs reduction by "tweaking" numbers, with "really tough" decisions required.

The ongoing consultation is expected to be completed by early September.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney wrote to the rugby community in July warning that the total number of redundancies could be 139, from a workforce of 580.

He said: "We are projecting a four to five-year recovery with cumulative revenue reductions around 20%."

However, he said that one of the priorities for the organisation in future would be "supporting the community game and our member clubs - which are the life blood of our game".

Individual consultations on redundancies are continuing, and further announcements regarding other roles affected are expected in the coming weeks.

Sources said that the grassroots game had not been "disproportionately punished", but that the governing body was working out "how to do things differently".

It is understood a series of webinars during the coronavirus shutdown have highlighted innovative ways that the RFU can provide support to grassroots rugby, while other areas of the business will be tasked with looking after the community game alongside other work.

UK Coaching's director of coaching, Emma Atkins said: "We are saddened to see the impact of the pandemic on sporting partners and the lives of our coaching family.

"We are all understandably concerned about the impact this will have on community sport and physical activity provision at the local level. At this time it is important for the sports sector to collaborate more than ever to support coaches who deliver activity in local communities.

"We are here for coaches at this difficult time to provide advice, support and a voice to government.

"Given the critical role coaches play in local communities we are asking the public to ensure that they too are doing all they can to support coaches across the UK."