Eddie Jones to be asked to take pay cut as RFU prepares for £50m pandemic losses

Rugby Football Union boss Bill Sweeney has joined the country’s top players in taking a massive pay cut – and England boss Eddie Jones will be asked to follow suit.

Days after salary reductions of 25 per cent were imposed by all Premiership clubs, Sweeney confirmed the top brass at Twickenham would take one “in excess” of that amount.

“The RFU had budgeted for a loss-making year within a four year cycle due to the costs of the 2019 RWC campaign and hosting only two home Six Nations games,” he said.

“The loss will now be considerably more as we face challenges similar to businesses across the country.

“Based on our planning assumption we estimate RFU revenue losses over the next 18 months to be approximately £45-£50 million and have a firm plan in place to mitigate this.

“The RFU Executive Team will be taking a cut in remuneration in excess of 25%. In addition, combined Board fees will be reduced by 75%.”

Sweeney acknowledged that while it was impossible to predict when the Covid-19 outbreak would pass, the RFU was working on an assumption “based on a medium term impact” with a view to a return to rugby in the autumn.

He added that a £7 million relief package would be made available to community clubs (National League 1 and below) to try to help them survive the global pandemic.

Meanwhile, England No.8 Billy Vunipola has brought much-needed cheer to relegated Saracens by re-committing his future to the London club.

Vunipola, who is recovering from a fourth broken arm, said: ”The way I see it, it’s part of the journey of the club. I’m definitely staying.

"Some boys have had to try to further their careers, as they are at the start of their careers. I’m kind of in the middle of it.

"The club have looked after me, and not just me, my family. It’s time for me to dig my heels in and scrap with the boys and hopefully come up next year.

Vunipola added that he was unsure what his decision will mean for his England career.

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