The Rugby Football Union has explained today in more detail how it pays elite women’s players following reports England contracts will not be renewed after the forthcoming World Cup.
The RFU, which last year announced record revenues of more than £400m, says its priorities are cyclical and shift between the XVs and sevens programmes, with the Rugby World Cup Sevens and Commonwealth Games taking place next year.
The governing body has confirmed contracts for the 15-a-side game will expire after next month’s tournament in Ireland because the focus will shift to sevens.
New XVs contracts will then be awarded in preparation for the 2021 Women’s Rugby World Cup.
RFU director of professional rugby Nigel Melville said: “The RFU has made a multi-million pound investment in women’s rugby in the last three years and that investment increases year on year. Our record investment applies not just to the elite game but also to the community game.
“The women’s game works in cycles between the 15s and sevens programmes and as a result next year there will be 17 professional, full-time fixed-term sevens contracts to prepare England to compete in the two big global tournaments on the horizon.
“Contracts will then revert to 15s contracts again to prepare for the next big global tournament — the Women’s Rugby World Cup.”
“The current XVs squad was informed in April that the next contracts will be focused on sevens, reflecting the cyclical nature of the women’s game.
“The squad fully understands the position and are focused on the World Cup in Ireland next month.”