England RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney recovering after pulmonary embolism

64-year-old will miss World Rugby’s council meeting in Dublin next week

England Rugby Football Union chief executive Bill Sweeney is recovering in hospital after suffering a pulmonary embolism, the governing body has confirmed. Photograph: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

The England Rugby Football Union chief executive, Bill Sweeney, is in hospital after suffering a pulmonary embolism. The 64-year-old was admitted to hospital last Friday and is expected to make a full recovery. The union said that Sweeney, who was appointed to the role in 2019, will recuperate for the next few weeks, initially at hospital before returning home.

He is said to be in "good spirits" and intends to return to work once he has recovered. In his absence, the RFU's executive team will assume Sweeney's duties, working closely with the chair, Tom Ilube, and the rest of the board.

Sweeney will not be in Dublin next week for World Rugby’s council meeting when England are expected to be confirmed as the hosts of the 2025 women’s World Cup. His absence will be further felt given he has also been playing a key role in discussions over revamping the global calendar and remodelling the July and November international Test windows.

In March, Sweeney gave Eddie Jones his firm backing to continue as England's head coach despite another lacklustre showing during this year's Six Nations in which the side managed just two wins for the second successive campaign.


An RFU statement read: “Bill Sweeney was admitted to hospital on Friday and he is being treated for a pulmonary embolism. Bill is expected to make a full recovery and return to work, he is in good spirits and is being well looked after.

“Bill will be recuperating for the next few weeks; initially in hospital but returning home soon. In the interim, the RFU executive team will ensure Union matters continue to be managed effectively working closely with Tom Ilube, RFU chair, and the rest of board as needed. Bill would like to convey his strongest possible appreciation for the NHS who perform such incredible work.”