RFU forced to axed England sevens programme
NEWS: England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU) is reportedly set to drop its sevens programme as it tries to cope with the financial impact of COVID-19.
According to the Telegraph, both the England men and women’s sevens teams were this week informed by the RFU that their contracts would not be extended beyond the end of August.
The news comes as the RFU is projected to lose £107 million in revenue as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The RFU told players this week that their contracts would not be renewed at the end of the month. The decision comes as a serious blow to the England Sevens players that hoped to compete in the 2021 Japan Olympics.
According to the report, the RFU have said that they can no longer support the sevens team given the current climate. The England sevens team is not funded by UK Sport.
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An RFU spokesman told the Telegraph, “We have approached UK Sport for funding and are exploring the option for a Team GB sevens team.”
“We are also in dialogue with World Rugby about the programme for the World Sevens Series and when games are likely to be played. With no current support in funding we are not in a position to sustain the team in its current format.”
The England Sevens team has enjoyed consistent success over the past 3 years.
England ended their 2018/19 campaign by securing Olympic qualification on behalf of Great Britain despite missing a host of key personnel through injury. Youngsters Ben Harris and Jamie Barden shone.
New Zealand was awarded the Sevens Series this year as it was prematurely finished due to the Pandemic.
The decision followed detailed and constructive dialogue with the host and participating unions, and had been taken with the health and wellbeing of the rugby community and the wider public as top priority.
New Zealand were awarded both the women’s and men’s titles courtesy of being top of the standings before the pandemic interrupted the Series with five of the eight women’s rounds and six of the ten men’s rounds successfully completed.