The British & Irish Lions players have reportedly accepted their lowest pay since 2009 for the upcoming tour of South Africa due to the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, the 37-man Lions squad will be paid a basic wage of £48,750 for the eight-match tour, a 25% pay cut from the £65,000 they received for their 2017 tour of New Zealand.
The report goes on to state that Lions head coach Warren Gatland has also taken a ‘significant cut’ to his £500,000 salary, while the pay cuts have affected the rest of his management team.
Meanwhile, player-compensation payments to clubs – reported to be a point of tension between the Premiership teams and the Lions before the squad was named – have been reduced by 25%.
The cuts have been made to offset the loss of commercial and ticketing revenue as it is expected that fans will be unable to travel to South Africa for the series.
Government has yet to confirm whether local fans will be able to attend any matches during the series, but it is understood that SA Rugby has been lobbying for 50% capacity of stadiums.
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