The RFU’s executive team will take a pay cut of more than 25 per cent as part of efforts to mitigate the effects of heavy losses over the next 18 months.

The governing body was already expecting to make a loss in 2020 due to the costs of last summer’s Rugby World Cup campaign and only hosting two Six Nations games but that has escalated significantly because of the coronavirus crisis.

Chief executive Bill Sweeney said in a statement on “Based on our planning assumption, we estimate RFU revenue losses over the next 18 months to be approximately £45-£50 million and have a firm plan in place to mitigate this.

“The RFU executive team will be taking a cut in remuneration in excess of 25 per cent. In addition, combined board fees will be reduced by 75 per cent.”

Sweeney also announced a funding package worth £7million to provide support for community rugby clubs in England, including £5million in loans.

The RFU will provide an update in mid-April, meanwhile, on whether to end the season early.

Sweeney said: “No one can predict every possible outcome of the Covid-19 outbreak, particularly with regard to the duration of this crisis, and we are managing in the unknown.

“We have modelled three potential scenarios and are working on an assumption based on a medium-term impact with a view to a return to rugby in the autumn. We will continue to monitor against this assumption and review and revise planning where necessary.”