Coronavirus: RFU boss Bill Sweeney says crisis will change rugby


Bristol vs. Harlequins was the last Premiership match played on March 8

The coronavirus crisis has shown the need for a radical overhaul of rugby worldwide, said RFU boss Bill Sweeney.

With unions and clubs plunged into financial turmoil, Sweeney believes the pandemic has exposed the “fault lines” that exist in the game.

He says that greater cooperation will lead to a more prosperous sport.

“I really believe that coming out of this, you will see a different structure and a different shape,” said Sweeney.

Australia and the United States are among the rugby union nations plunged into crisis by the epidemic, while even the RFU in England – considered the richest rugby nation in the world – is prepared for loss of revenue of around £ 50 million.

Sweeney says the serious impact of Covid-19 has forced unions to help each other like never before.

“What comes out is another level of cooperation and collaboration that continues,” Sweeney told BBC Sport.

“Everyone knows where the problems and problems lie, but we haven’t had a certain amount of cooperation and collaboration before to be able to resolve this problem. I think that changes.

“We speak to World Rugby and we speak to the southern hemisphere almost daily right now, which is a good thing.

“We all want them to survive this, and they are slightly more exposed than us because they are at the very start of their season. “

Streamlining the rugby union calendar, while balancing the need for income generation and focusing on player well-being, has long been an enigma for the sport.

A summit in San Francisco in 2017 failed to resolve the issues, while the groundbreaking plans for the World Rugby Nations Championship were canceled last year.

But Sweeney is confident that major changes are underway as the various unions emerge from the current situation.

“What this crisis has highlighted are the fault lines that exist in the global game,” he said.

“It would make no sense to get out of this and continue as before. We are looking at things now in terms of all bets are off, and a blank sheet of paper.

“How do we work together to come out with a much stronger international game, a more streamlined schedule, which makes more sense for fans and more meaning for business partners.” How to get out of it so that everyone can benefit?

“Maybe it’s optimistic, but I really believe that when you come out of this, you will see a different structure and a different shape. “


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