Roux: SA Rugby facing threatening crisis

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux has confirmed the Industry Financial Impact Plan has been formulated against a worst-case scenario of no rugby being played for the rest of the year.

On Tuesday, it was confirmed that the SA rugby industry had agreed in principle to a wide-ranging plan to cut between R700 million to R1 billion from its budget over the next eight months.

READ: Pay cuts planned across the board

‘Many businesses find themselves in a fight for survival and rugby is no different,’ Roux stated. ‘We face an extremely threatening crisis and we had to take united and decisive action to address it head on.

‘I’d like to commend the employees, players and the unions for the collaborative and realistic way they have approached this crisis. We are all in this together and we all quickly agreed that we have to equally contribute to the solution.’

Roux said that the salary reductions had been agreed in principle by the collective and were now being communicated to those affected before final approval through the various governance channels of SA Rugby, MyPlayers, Sports Employees Unite and the individual unions.

‘Our income is tied to the playing of professional rugby and without matches we potentially don’t have any income,’ said Roux. ‘We don’t know when we will be able to resume the season, so have had to budget against a range of scenarios.

‘This Industry Financial Impact Plan has been formulated against a worst-case scenario where we are not able to resume play for the rest of the year. It means we face a major belt-tightening exercise on a sport-wide and personal level; but without these measures we wouldn’t have much of a sport to return to.’

ALSO READ: SA Rugby confirms some competition cancellations

In addition, SA Rugby also outlined plans for some events to be called off, while continuing contingency planning for others in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

‘These are unprecedented times, not only for rugby in South Africa, but across all spheres of life all over the globe,’ said Roux.

‘Unfortunately, we had to make some very tough calls in terms of our local competitions, but we have the buy-in and support from the local franchises and unions, SAREO, MyPlayers and our broadcaster, SuperSport, in this regard.

‘The decision to cancel certain competitions and tournaments is in line with what has been happening across various sporting codes all over the world – we are not shielded from this in South Africa.

‘In terms of other teams’ participation in certain competitions, and the hosting of other tournaments, we are currently on a return-to-train-and-play readiness plan, but this is dependent on government advice and decisions as the pandemic evolves.’