World Rugby has announced the details of a dedicated Covid-19 relief strategy to mitigate the overall impact of the pandemic on the sport.
Underpinned by a relief fund of approximately US$100 million to assist unions through to the resumption of the sport, the strategy reflects World Rugby’s commitment to leading the sport through its greatest challenge and is a result of cross-game collaboration that has enabled key decisions to be taken in the spirit of solidarity and partnership.
The relief fund will available for unions requiring immediate emergency funding subject to appropriate criteria being met. It is designed to assist the maximum number of unions for the maximum amount of time while there is a rugby void.
For Six Nations and Sanzaar unions, the financial package will involve a combination of advances and loans, while World Rugby added that it is committed to supporting emerging nations and regional associations where required.
This comes after unions from both the Six Nations and Sanzaar have been forced to introduce pay cuts in order to survive the extended break in the season.
New Zealand Rugby on Thursday announced that they would be introducing a pay freeze of 50% for players – including All Blacks – contracted by the Vodacom Super Rugby franchises.
Meanwhile, the English RFU has braced for revenue losses of up to £50m, reducing the pay of England head coach Eddie Jones by more than 25%, while also proposing a salary reduction across the board for their other employees.
SA Rugby is also set to feel the pinch as reports suggest they could lose between R27m and R33m per month if the national lockdown extends into May and if the players are not back in training by at least June. Non-profitable tournaments, such as Craven Week and the Provincial Rugby Challenge, could also be cancelled to save costs.
A contingency plan has been formulated in a joint working group, known as the Covid-19 Management Committee, which includes SA Rugby, the South African Rugby Employers’ Organisation (SAREO), MyPlayers (representing the players) and Sports Employees’ Unite (SEU – the rugby staffs’ trade union).
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