Last Updated: 06/07/20 8:48pm
Will Greenwood says that it is no surprise that the RFU are looking to cut their costs as they face financial difficulties.
RFU CEO Bill Sweeney has confirmed they plan to make 139 staff redundant as they look to cope with lost revenues in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
A consultation process has begun at Twickenham over the cost-cutting measures and nearly a quarter of all RFU staff could lose their jobs under the proposals.
Sweeney says it could take the governing body five years to recover from the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has heavily disrupted the 2020 rugby calendar.
Greenwood is not surprised about the RFU’s plans to make cuts and believes that their long-term future depends on the decisions they make in the short term.
“Bill Sweeney was on my podcast a few days ago and without overplaying the bad news, he was contextualising everything that was going on in the world of rugby with a real, understanding that rugby revenues have fallen through the floor,” Greenwood told Sky Sports News.
“They were looking at a best case scenario of losing £50m this year if the autumn internationals don’t take place. That would drop even further if we go into next year without the Six Nations – you begin to understand that rugby, like many other sports, is struggling with finances.
“I have been reading about some of the tools and mechanics that organisations can use to try and stay afloat when you are having terrible economic times. The first thing you lose is overheads and the majority of overheads tend to be in collateral human cost.
“It was nothing that wasn’t to be expected, the size of it again reflects the enormity of the challenge the RFU is going through at the moment.
“This is no one falling out with rugby, this is not a CEO who has taken an opportunity to slash costs – Bill Sweeney and his board love all forms of the game but the only way for the RFU to stay afloat in the short term is to cut costs by workforce by 25 per cent.”
Greenwood also suggested that now is time to look at other areas to save money and that perhaps the England Squad Agreement (EPS) could be looked at.
England players are paid handsomely for appearances, training and image rights plus they earn £25,000 in match fees.
“The RFU will look to cut costs in other avenues, is there any wiggle room with the EPS agreement? Will they sit down with them and explain the current climate as most clubs have done and try and come up with some negotiation as to how much they pay them to represent England at a time when the RFU is struggling to remain afloat.
“I’ve dramatised that a bit but I think the RFU are looking at the worst-case scenario and are trying to put in place plans that will make sure that once lockdown eases, the community game is as strong as possible and the international game can go from strength to strength which it clearly was going off the back of the 2019 World Cup.”