The Rugby Football Union is seeking financial aid from the Government after forecasting losses totalling £106million as a result of fans being absent from matches at Twickenham for up to six months.
Chief executive Bill Sweeney has revealed the perilous outlook that will see a £122million reduction in revenue for the forthcoming Autumn Nations Cup and £138million for the Six Nations.
The impact of these are losses of £46million and £60million respectively, forcing the world's richest union to request a bailout.
Concern over a second wave of coronavirus infections has resulted in the abandonment of plans for supporters to attend sports venues in England from October 1 as part of new restrictions announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Johnson added that the additional measures would remain in place for "perhaps six months" and there followed a meeting of major sports with Oliver Dowden, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Sweeney was present to outline the gravity of the situation at Twickenham and in a bleak statement, warned of the possible consequences if assistance is not provided.
"From the outset we have been clear that an autumn without crowds would leave us with little choice but to approach Government for financial help. Unfortunately, we are now in that position," Sweeney said.
"Without support we are in danger of clubs at the heart of communities across England, as well as players and volunteers, disappearing forever."