New Zealand Rugby has confirmed that the country’s top rugby players are set to lose as much as $25 million this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The governing body on Thursday announced that 50% of the remaining forecasted player spend for 2020 will be frozen as a result of the coronavirus which has brought the global sporting calendar to a halt. This equates to NZ$25m or just over R250m.
The freeze will apply predominantely to players contracted to the Super Rugby teams – including All Blacks – as well as those in the sevens programme and the Black Ferns. New Zealand Rugby has tried to protect those players who earn less than $50,000.
The expenditure freeze covers the base salary of players, assembly payments and other financial benefits and incentives, as well as reductions in player-funded welfare and development activities.
The key changes include:
- Freezing team assembly and tournament fees for all national teams, excluding the Black Ferns
- Freezing contributions to the player savings scheme, but retaining KiwiSaver
- Freezing promotional payments and the vast majority of player performance incentives
- From 1 May, freezing 15% of the players’ 2020 base retainers for those paid more than $50,000 per year, with this rising to 30% in September.
ZR head of professional rugby Chris Lendrum said their payment model is complex and that it had taken time to determine a model that treats all players equitably.
‘The model we have agreed protects those on retainers of less than $50,000. While not all players are being treated exactly the same, we felt these changes were the fairest way to address player payments and benefits, considering all the different ways our players are remunerated.’
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