The Welsh Rugby Union has announced that its leading rugby players will take a 25% pay cut as the sport deals with the financial impact of Covid-19.
The Professional Rugby Board (PRB), representing the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and the four regions – Cardiff Blues, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets – reached the agreement with the Welsh Rugby Players’ Association (WRPA).
Players in Wales’ four regions earning more than £25,000 will take a 25% pay cut, effective from 1 April until 1 July.
However, the cut will not apply to players earning £25,000 a year or less.
The WRPA wanted to defer 25% of players’ monthly gross basic salaries from April until August, with the deferred money then paid next year.
But instead, players will have their salaries cut by 25%, as was announced earlier for Wales head coach Wayne Pivac and WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips.
Under a banding system introduced last year, the WRU pays 80% of the salaries of the 38 top-ranked players, with the players’ regions contributing the remaining 20%. Salaries for players outside that top tier are paid entirely by the regions.
In addition to player pay cuts, each of the regions has also applied for percentage reductions for all full-time staff, which is being managed locally to reflect the various business models across the professional game.
‘For our professional players in particular this has been a really tough decision, they are at the very sharp end of our business, but they are also our biggest cost,’ PRB chairperson Amanda Blanc said.
‘But they are in the midst of short careers, many in the prime of those careers and we are asking them to make a financial sacrifice that they won’t have planned for.
‘We explored a range of options, including deferment of pay, but have agreed on a reduction once all the relevant information and scenarios were considered.
‘They have accepted that this is being done out of necessity, because we want to be in a position to immediately resume when current circumstances subside.’
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