BREAKING NEWS: Saracens relegated from the Premiership

By Sports Desk January 18, 2020

Defending champions Saracens will be relegated from the Premiership at the end of the 2019-20 season, Premiership Rugby has confirmed.

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    Rugby Australia (RA) has stood down 75 per cent of its workforce for three months in a move it called "the toughest decision in the game's history".

    Its remaining staff have been offered significant salary reductions or reduced hours after the coronavirus outbreak brought Super Rugby and the international game to a halt.

    RA chief executive Raelene Castle has agreed to a 50 per cent pay cut, while other executives will receive 30 per cent less from April 1 until June 30.

    Plans to launch a five-team domestic competition during the suspension of Super Rugby have been put on hold until at least May 1.

    Castle said in a statement on Tuesday: "Today we have had to deliver the hardest news imaginable to our incredible, hard-working and passionate staff, that many of them will be stood down for a three-month period so that the game can survive this unprecedented crisis.

    "Since the suspension of our proposed domestic Super Rugby competition, we have been working to understand both the immediate and long-term financial implications for the game as a result of the suspension of the competition, and potential further loss of revenue-generating content as we look ahead to the international season.

    "Our extensive modelling shows that as a code, we could lose up to [AU]$120million in revenue should it not be possible for any rugby to be played in 2020. Of course, that is the worst-case scenario, and we are very hopeful that we can recommence the Super Rugby season and domestic Wallabies Test matches at some point this year.

    "The measures we will implement from April 1, although extremely painful, are necessary to ensure the sport remains financially viable and to ensure that we are able to come out the other side of this global crisis, fully operational and ready to throw everything into the rebuild. It is our priority to keep all of our valued team connected and engaged through this period.

    "We shared with the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) today the breadth of our cost-cutting including the standing down of 75 per cent of our staff. We will work closely with RUPA to reach an agreement which is appropriate given this unprecedented situation.

    "I want to pay tribute to each and every member of staff across our rugby organisations and once again stress that once we get through this crisis, and we will, rugby will be back stronger than ever. All staff on stand down will have continued access to Rugby Australia support services during this time."

    The Rebels and Brumbies announced all their employees would be stood down or continue with reduced pay until the end of June.

  • Rumour Has It: Man Utd contact Sancho's agent, Chelsea ready to offer Donnarumma huge deal Rumour Has It: Man Utd contact Sancho's agent, Chelsea ready to offer Donnarumma huge deal

    Jadon Sancho is the name on everyone's lips.

    The Borussia Dortmund teenager has taken Europe by storm and clubs are queuing up.

    But Manchester United are reportedly at the front of the line.

     

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    Manchester United have contacted Jadon Sancho's agent as they look to sign the Borussia Dortmund sensation, according to Fabrizio Romano.

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    ROUND-UP

    - Tuttosport reports Chelsea are preparing a huge contract offer for Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. It comes as the Blues reportedly look to sell Kepa Arrizabalaga.

    Juventus are interested in Achraf Hakimi, says Calciomercato. Achraf is set to return to Real Madrid following a two-year loan spell at Dortmund. Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked to the Moroccan full-back.

    Inter have named their price for Barcelona target Lautaro Martinez, Calciomercato reports. With a release clause of €111m, Inter want at least €80m in cash.

    - Birmingham City's 16-year-old star Jude Bellingham is set to reject a transfer to United in favour of Dortmund, says Bild.

    Tottenham and Arsenal, along with Crystal Palace and West Ham, are eyeing Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren, according to Team Talk.

    - Calciomercato claims Inter have not given up on signing Napoli forward Dries Mertens on a free transfer. The Belgian star is out of contract at the end of 2019-20.

    Madrid is the preferred option for Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga, says Marca. Liverpool, Dortmund and PSG have also emerged as possible suitors for the 17-year-old.

    - Corriere dello Sport says Valencia are eyeing Inter centre-back Diego Godin, who has been linked to United and Tottenham.

    Roma are lining up a move for Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa, says Diario AS. Clubs in Brazil and Qatar are also reportedly circling.

  • Coronavirus: USA Rugby files for bankruptcy Coronavirus: USA Rugby files for bankruptcy

    USA Rugby has filed for bankruptcy as the coronavirus pandemic takes its toll on sport across the world.

    In a statement on Monday, USA Rugby said the impact of COVID-19 has accelerated existing financial issues after voting to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy.

    USA Rugby suspended sanctioned competition and rugby activities indefinitely on March 20 due to the coronavirus crisis.

    The American union will undergo a restructuring process with input from World Rugby, while the United States' men's and women's senior national teams will continue to compete as normal when the sport returns.

    "This is the most challenging period this organisation has faced and all resolves were never taken lightly in coming to this determination," said USA Rugby Chair Barbara O'Brien.

    "While the current climate is of course much larger than rugby, we remain focused with stakeholders and supporters in the continued effort toward a balanced rugby community where the game can truly grow."

    Globally, there have been over 37,700 deaths and at least 784,380 confirmed cases.

    In the United States, more than 3,100 people have succumbed to the virus, with over 163,400 cases.

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