With the Rugby Football Union cutting costs in many different sectors, the report that they will not be reducing free trips for its council members has not gone down well. One figure in the game that has already voiced their opinion is former England Sevens head coach Mike Friday.

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He has described his disbelief at this decision in light of what has happened to the seven-man format of the game in England over the past weeks.

Alongside cuts to the community game in England and the redundancy of referee JP Doyle this past week, the England Sevens programme was scrapped at the beginning of the month as the RFU face losses of up to £107million as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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In spite of this, it is reported that the 55 members of the RFU council have rejected the proposed cuts to their expenses budget which covers trip to away Six Nations matches and stays in luxury hotels.

Friday took charge of England Sevens between 2004 and 2006 and is currently the head coach of the USA, so he will obviously have a keen interest in the development of the game. He outlined his dismay at this RFU council decision on Twitter, saying: “I hope this isn’t true considering what has happened in the community department and to the 7s teams.”

Given the abnormal circumstances that many unions find themselves in due to the pandemic, a period of belt tightening was expected, but there are some decisions that will be far more palatable to the rugby community than others.

Already England sevens stars have voiced their displeasure at being stood down by the RFU. Some have been able to secure contracts elsewhere, but others have been left in a far more precarious position.

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The RFU’s initial decision to sever ties with the sevens programme rankled quite a few people in the game given the benefits and opportunities that sevens provides, but responses like Friday’s will surely intensify in view of this latest report.

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