World Rugby chief Bill Beaumont has painted a bleak picture of the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic for rugby union.
The former England captain and now chairman of the game’s governing body has issued a stern warning that ‘everyone will suffer’ as a result of the financial implications.
USA Rugby has already buckled under the financial pressure while southern-hemisphere giants New Zealand – who have already handed their five franchises a cash boost – and Australia are both predicting massive losses with rugby in limbo for the foreseeable future.
World Rugby has reportedly asked all unions to present their best- and worst-case scenarios, in preparation of a so-called ‘Marshall Plan’ of loans, designed to stave off insolvency until fixtures resume.
The governing body has cash reserves following the success of the World Cup in Japan but resources are not endless.
‘At World Rugby, we have financial reserves and we have to look at how we can preserve the global game,’ he said.
‘We have been very prudent over the years, so we have funds, but we don’t have enough funds to bail everyone out. The World Cup in Japan made a profit which was very similar to what it was in 2015. It was a great success commercially.
‘If this happened now and there hadn’t been a World Cup last year, we would all be staring down the barrel. So we are lucky in that respect, but there is only so much in the pot. We are not like the IOC [International Olympic Committee], who are sitting on enormous reserves.’