(Reuters) – England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU) has cut funding to the Premier 15s, the women’s top-flight domestic league, by 25% as it struggles to cope with the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Telegraph reported.
The report said that financial support to each of the 10 teams in the league would drop from 75,000 pounds to 56,250 pounds this season.
The 2019-20 Premier 15s season was declared null and void by the RFU in April due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Tyrrells ended their sponsorship of the competition when their contract expired in August. The new season is expected to begin later this month.
In July, the RFU had projected a short-term revenue loss of 107 million pounds due to the closure of Twickenham Stadium and also proposed making 139 positions within the organisation redundant after finances took a massive hit.
“Simply put, if we do not stage matches and events at the stadium, we do not generate revenue,” the RFU said in a statement to the Telegraph. “The women’s game and Premier 15s remain key priorities for England.”
“We understand the challenges across the game and will be working hard and collaboratively with all stakeholders to overcome these. The women’s game is crucial to the health of the overall game.”
The RFU did not immediately respond to Reuters’ request for comment.
The cut in funding will not impact the England women’s team, the report added.
(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Kim Coghill)