A leading French rugby official has issued a chilling warning about the financial impact of COVID-19 claiming nine high profile Top14 teams and seven from the second division competition are in danger of running out of cash.

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The state of the game was revealed by Dominique Debreyer, chief financial officer for French rugby’s salary cap watchdog, the DNACG.

Debreyer, a chartered accountant by profession and director of the National Direction of Aid and Management Control,  filed a 40-page financial report to clubs in early April, estimating the economic impact the coronavirus will have on clubs in the Top14 and Pro D2.

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He estimated that nine Top 14 and seven Pro D2 clubs would not be able to pay their players without bailouts next season.

Debreyer was quoted in Rugbyrama stating: “We carried out our estimate for a drop in GDP of around 2%. However, today, the State evokes rather a fall of 6%. We have also neglected the impact of the crisis on ticketing. Therefore, if we use our model and taking into account the player contracts already signed and which run over the next season, nine Top 14 and seven Pro D2 clubs will not be able to not present a budget that would allow them to hire for next year.

“This is why it is important for professional rugby to initiate a common commercial policy. Otherwise, there will be very great damage.”

However, Debreyer has been speaking to the Presidents of the Top 14 clubs and sees some reason to believe an answer can be found to the looming problem.

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He added: “This is only an assumption on the regulatory payroll. In no case did we want to replace negotiations. Besides, the players’ wages are not necessarily the only adjustment variable. We were comforted in our study by the words that certain Presidents of Top 14 kept to us.”

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