IF you didn’t think the rugby world was not in a state of complete and utter chaos then you probably were not paying attention to the astonishing developments in Ireland at the weekend and then in France and here in the UK in the last 48 hours.

The chief executive of the IRFU Philip Browne did not mince his words when he told an Irish parliamentary committee on Friday that Irish rugby's losses due to Covid-19 were forecast to be in excess of 30m euros.

He revealed that his Union’s cash surplus of 28m euros earlier this year was set to turn into a debt figure of around 10m euros by next summer.

He went further: "If these projections were to materialise, the very existence of professional rugby on the island would be under significant threat in 2021."

That is even after the IRFU has cut salaries and jobs. It backs what SRU chief executive Mark Dodson has been saying about the huge losses we face in Scotland, while in England there could well be closures of professional clubs and France is openly discussing the possible demise of some of its biggest clubs.

It’s no better in the Southern Hemisphere where the All Blacks face 50 per cent wage cuts and Australia’s top clubs are really struggling.

Everybody, but everybody, is running out of money due to the pandemic, and with Rugby USA already bankrupt, there seems to be little hope on the horizon for some unions and clubs.

And that’s just the virus bad news. Add to that the quite upsetting development that French coaching legend Bernard Laporte has been taken into custody for police questioning over alleged "intervention" on behalf of Montpellier during a disciplinary procedure. That’s Montpellier owned by billionaire Mohed Altrad whose construction group sponsors the French national team that Laporte used to coach.

Laporte is also vice-chairman of World Rugby, and one of the other messieurs to have their collars felt by the French police just happens to be Claude Atcher, chief organiser of the 2023 World Cup for which Altrad – he was also taken into custody – put up a substantial slice of the bid money.

The development which is most personally depressing and threatening to the sport in Scotland and elsewhere in these islands is the fact that it may be many months before we see spectators allowed at matches across the UK. I am sorry, but that is just going to be the end for some outfits, though hopefully not any of the home unions.

What absolutely infuriates me is that the unions and the clubs are expected to carry on playing behind closed doors. You may argue that rugby union and indeed all sports have no right to preferential treatment during this prolonged crisis, and I would agree with you. But when the Government(s) effectively prevent you from plying your trade properly, i.e. playing professional sport in front of spectators, then you should be compensated just as has happened with so many companies – airlines and train operators spring most readily to mind with billion-pound payouts – in order that clubs and unions can survive.

Nobody is looking for profit, just the ability to keep going, and that’s why I am proposing something rather revolutionary for the forthcoming 8 Nations tournament. It is likely from Boris Johnson’s "six months" announcement yesterday that they will all be held behind closed doors. That will probably cut the fees paid by the broadcasters who will correctly argue that matches without fans are a very sub-standard product. But the real problem is that if they are not on free-to-air channels, many if not most fans will still need to go to other households or clubs and pubs to watch the games. That will definitely be the case when Celtic play Rangers next month – not everybody has Sky or BT Sport to watch the broadcasts of top rugby and football games, so fans will inevitably invade the pubs or homes where the games can be seen and such events therefore become spreaders of Covid-19.

It may be news to Rupert Murdoch and the other "tellygarchs" but they do not actually rule the world. The UK Government controls broadcasting. It is a reserved matter, and that’s why Boris Johnson could actually do something useful for a change.

To avoid the spread of the virus at homes and in pubs where people will gather to watch the 8 Nations, the UK Government should order that this one-off tournament should become a so-called Crown Jewel of broadcasting, similar to the Olympics, Football and Rugby World Cup Finals and the Grand National which are on the A-list and must be offered first to free-to-air terrestrial broadcasters.

Even better plan – to make sure the commercial companies don’t lose out to the BBC and everyone gets a fair chance of broadcasting matches, all the Governments of the 8 Nations should pay to advertise health messages before and after the matches and at half-time when they would replace some of the idiotic punditry we get these days.

It’s called taking control, Boris, and might even make you popular.