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Rugby Australia and players agree wage cuts

Rugby Australia and players agree wage cuts
April 21, 2020

As the code continues to navigate the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic, Rugby Australia has announced that it has today reached agreement with the four Australian Super Rugby teams and the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) on an interim pay deal for players.

Following three weeks of discussions, players have agreed to take a 60% reduction in wages as part of cuts that, as of31st March, saw the governing body stand down 75% of its workforce, leading to an 80% overall reduction in costs across the business.

With Rugby Australia’s finances believed to be in a fragile state, the interim pay deal is seen as the first step towards re-negotiating a Collective Bargaining Agreement which will give the code a greater chance to achieve long-term sustainability.

Under the current CBA, players receive 29% of player-generated revenue regardless of the game’s income streams or player performance.

The financial measures have been secured for the next six months, or until competition can resume, with the Vodafone Super Rugby competition remaining on hold due to Government-imposed border and travel restrictions to prevent the spread of the virus.

The agreement will see Australia’s 192 professional rugby union players take an average 60% salary reduction through to 30th September, unless competition resumes at an earlier date.

With the 2020 Super Rugby season suspended at the completion of Round 7, all players received their full monthly payment in April, with the salary reduction to be amortised over the next five months.

Commenting on the agreement, Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle stated “sporting organisations around the world are experiencing an unprecedented challenge, as indeed the whole of society is, and rugby is no different as we continue to come to grips with the impacts of the global COVID-19 crisis.

“The players recognise and appreciate their role and shared responsibility in securing the future and helping us navigate through this difficult time and I want to thank them, on behalf of the game, for their willingness to work with us to reach an interim solution that will help us protect the long-term future of rugby in Australia.

“This has not been an easy discussion, but it has been a necessary one to ensure that we are able to emerge from the other side of this crisis in the best possible position for the game to move forward. It is important to note that these measures are a stop-gap, not a full-stop.

“We are deep into our planning to ensure we are able to navigate our way through this and be ready for competition to resume as soon as that is possible. The players have been involved in this process and we look forward to continuing that work and seeing them back out on the field doing what they do best.

“The structure of our game is complex with the international models of SANZAAR, the Sevens World Series and the Olympic Games, and players in all forms of the game will be impacted differently. These differences for our athletes add complexity to the discussions and so continuing to work together is critical to getting the best outcomes for all.

“The country is missing rugby and we are all looking forward to the day that players can return to the field and fans to the stands.”

Image: Captain Michael Hooper leads out the Wallabies in 2019. Courtesy of Rugby Australia.

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