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RFU awaiting huge rebate bill of £6m from Sky Sports for fixture shake-up

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rfu awaiting huge rebate bill of 6m from sky sports for fixture shake up

The RFU are facing multi-million-pound broadcast penalties following the cancellation of the autumn internationals.

This comes amid uncertainty over the TV rights deal for the replacement ‘Eight Nations’ tournament.

Sportsmail has learned that Sky Sports are entitled to a £6million rebate as a result of the cancellation of England’s matches against New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and Tonga. Sky do not automatically have the rights to this autumn’s tournament, which are subject to a new tender process.

England's matches against New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and Tonga had been cancelled

England's matches against New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and Tonga had been cancelled

England’s matches against New Zealand, Australia, Argentina and Tonga had been cancelled

Sky remain the most likely broadcasters of England’s pool games — against Wales, Ireland and Fiji in November — as they have space in their schedule and deeper pockets than their rivals, but are expected to bid significantly less than the value of their existing RFU contract.

That £30m, five-year deal was negotiated at the top of a very competitive broadcast market in 2014, when Sky were desperate to keep hold of prime live rights having recently lost football’s Champions League to BT Sport, and there is a feeling within the company that they overpaid.

In addition, the hastily-arranged matches against England’s traditional Six Nations rivals do not have the same appeal as a re-run of last year’s epic World Cup semi-final against New Zealand, who have only visited Twickenham once in the last six years.

The RFU face multi-million-pound broadcast penalties following the cancellation of matches

The RFU face multi-million-pound broadcast penalties following the cancellation of matches

The RFU face multi-million-pound broadcast penalties following the cancellation of matches

A failure to recoup the Sky rebate would represent another blow to the RFU, who are projected to lose around £100m this year due to Covid-19, which led them to announce plans to cut 139 jobs earlier this month.

There is also uncertainty about the number of fans who will be able to attend matches at Twickenham this autumn.

The RFU had hoped to operate at 50 per cent — around 40,000 — but, following talks with the Government, they have downgraded their ambitions to between 20,000 and 25,000.

As a result, they are expected to prioritise selling tickets to debenture holders and corporate clients, to the wrath of ordinary England fans.

World Rugby are set to ratify the new Eight Nations tournament by the end of this week — with a working title of the Nations Cup.

There is uncertainty over the number of fans who will be able to attend games at Twickenham

There is uncertainty over the number of fans who will be able to attend games at Twickenham

There is uncertainty over the number of fans who will be able to attend games at Twickenham

And Sportsmail can reveal the intended order of England’s fixtures.

They will open the competition against Fiji at Twickenham on November 14, then face Ireland the following Saturday at home. Eddie Jones’s side will conclude the group stage ‘away’ to Wales — although the match may be played in London if Government restrictions on fans in grounds are tighter over the border.

The RFU also intend, it is understood, to set up two England Women fixtures against France around the same time.

Meanwhile, new Leicester head coach Steve Borthwick says he has not negotiated a break clause to tour South Africa with the Lions in 2021 as a coach on Warren Gatland’s team.

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‘He could get a standing ovation at ANFIELD’: Robertson praises on Rashford for school meals work

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he could get a standing ovation at anfield robertson praises on rashford for school meals work

If fans have returned by January 16, when Manchester United travel to Anfield in the Premier League, Andy Robertson thinks Marcus Rashford could receive a standing ovation from the Kop.    

The striker become football’s star of lockdown when he successfully lobbied the Government to reverse its decision on ending the free school meals scheme amid the pandemic. 

Robertson himself gave a crucial donation to Glaswegian helpline Back Onside, and is setting up his own AR26 charity, aiming to help those less fortunate through football.  

Liverpool star Andy Robertson was impressed by Marcus Rashford's lockdown off-field work

Liverpool star Andy Robertson was impressed by Marcus Rashford's lockdown off-field work

Liverpool star Andy Robertson was impressed by Marcus Rashford’s lockdown off-field work

The Manchester United striker set about lobbying the Government over free school meals

The Manchester United striker set about lobbying the Government over free school meals

The Manchester United striker set about lobbying the Government over free school meals

Rashford's success leads Robertson to believe Anfield could applaud the striker when he visits

Rashford's success leads Robertson to believe Anfield could applaud the striker when he visits

Rashford’s success leads Robertson to believe Anfield could applaud the striker when he visits

Robertson was also involved in Jordan Henderson’s Players Together fund during lockdown, and was highly impressed with the work of his rivals’ front-man too.  

‘The two words that everyone’s saying (during the pandemic) are “Marcus Rashford”‘, the left-back told the Times.  

‘He made politicians overturn the decision (not to extend free school meals) because he wanted every kid to get fed. What he’s done was amazing, outstanding.

‘Once the fans are back in, Marcus Rashford could be the first Man United player to get a standing ovation here. 

Robertson made his own contributions for those struggling during lockdown in Glasgow

Robertson made his own contributions for those struggling during lockdown in Glasgow

Robertson made his own contributions for those struggling during lockdown in Glasgow 

‘He’d definitely deserve it because thousands of families are getting fed now.’ 

After applauding him Liverpool would quickly have to turn their attention to stopping Rashford when they face-off, with the Englishman stepping-up on the pitch as well as off it last season. 

Virgil van Dijk will be the principle centre-back charged with marking Rashford, but the powerful Dutchman got his season off to a rocky start last weekend.  

The former Ballon d’Or runner-up conceded three goals and was at fault for Patrick Bamford’s 30th minute equaliser in a 4-3 victory over newly-promoted Leeds United, but Robertson was keen to remind viewers of the centre-back’s world class quality.  

Virgil van Dijk had a rocky start to his Premier League season but his team-mate is backing him

Virgil van Dijk had a rocky start to his Premier League season but his team-mate is backing him

Virgil van Dijk had a rocky start to his Premier League season but his team-mate is backing him

‘When he makes a mistake everyone’s shocked and that shows how good a player he is,’ Robertson added. 

‘It’s a bit like when Lionel Messi misses a chance.

‘He has the whole package as a centre back: so strong in the air, physical, fast, good on the ball, a leader, he commands. He’s amazing to play with.’

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Edouard Mendy ‘has said his goodbyes to Rennes team-mates’ ahead of his imminent move to Chelsea

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edouard mendy has said his goodbyes to rennes team mates ahead of his imminent move to chelsea

Edouard Mendy has reportedly said his goodbyes to his Rennes team-mates ahead of his imminent move to Chelsea.

The 28-year-old has been pursued by the Blues as manager Frank Lampard wants a new goalkeeper to usurp much-maligned Kepa Arrizabalaga as his No 1.

And L’Equipe claim the player has informed the Rennes squad that the deal is set to be completed.

Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is close to completing a move to Chelsea, says his agent

Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is close to completing a move to Chelsea, says his agent

Rennes goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is close to completing a move to Chelsea, says his agent

Talks with Mendy’s club Rennes have been ongoing but according to his agent Djily Dieng a significant breakthrough has happened over the past few days.

‘The deal with Chelsea is almost done. Only the formalisation is remaining,’ he told Extra Time on Thursday afternoon as per Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano

‘It could be completed even in the next hours’.

Mendy is set to become the seventh signing in an extraordinary summer of spending for Chelsea after Sportsmail revealed at the weekend they had agreed a £25million fee with the Ligue 1 side.

The 28-year-old is set to join Chelsea in a £25m deal - as Frank Lampard looks for a new No 1

The 28-year-old is set to join Chelsea in a £25m deal - as Frank Lampard looks for a new No 1

The 28-year-old is set to join Chelsea in a £25m deal – as Frank Lampard looks for a new No 1

Mendy was initially pulled out of training on Friday after Chelsea’s bid was accepted and was subsequently left out of Rennes’ 4-2 victory against Nimes on Sunday.

Chelsea conceded 54 goals in 38 Premier League games last season and manager Frank Lampard wants Mendy to help eradicate such a poor record.

His arrival would take Chelsea’s outlay this summer beyond £250m following the purchases of Hakim Ziyech, Timo Werner, Ben Chilwell, Malang Sarr, Thiago Silva  and Kai Havertz.

Kepa Arrizabalaga is the Blues current No 1 but he is much-maligned after several mistakes

Kepa Arrizabalaga is the Blues current No 1 but he is much-maligned after several mistakes

Kepa Arrizabalaga is the Blues current No 1 but he is much-maligned after several mistakes

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12pm Arsenal transfer news LIVE: Aouar deal ‘this window’, Partey boost as Simeone calls Torreira, Raya LATEST

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12pm arsenal transfer news live aouar deal this window partey boost as simeone calls torreira raya latest

PIERRE-EMERICK AUBAMEYANG has committed his future to Arsenal by signing a new three-year deal at the Emirates.

And there is good news on the Gunners’ transfer pursuit of Houssem Aouar and Thomas Partey.

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