Cash-strapped Aussies face big pay cuts
NEWS: The sensitive issues of potential large player wage cuts and staff lay-offs are among the big issues to be discussed at the Rugby Australia AGM on Monday.
The meeting, via a video conference, is expected to provide some clarity on the issue.
Other sports including Australian Rules and netball have already announced large short-term player pay cuts and staff lay-offs.
While some other sports have kept their players in the loop over potential wage cuts, RA has not had any detailed discussions with the Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA).
RA will reveal its financial result for 2019 at Monday’s AGM.
It recorded a net surplus of $5.2m in 2018, but after the last AGM anticipated running at a loss in 2019 due to reductions in broadcast and match day revenue because of a limited domestic Test schedule in a World Cup year.
Revenue for 2020 year will be adversely affected by the Super Rugby tournament being suspended for the foreseeable future after seven rounds, and a delay to a proposed domestic competition in its place, while doubt surrounds the Test schedule later in the year.
The sport’s global governing body World Rugby may be able to offer some financial support, though that has still to be determined.
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Outside of the financial discussions, RA will on Monday fill three positions on its board.
Those positions are set to be taken by 1999 World Cup-winning Wallaby centre Dan Herbert, Virgin Blue co-founder Brett Godfrey and Peter Wiggs, chairperson of Supercars.
Either Godfrey or Wiggs is tipped to take over as the chairperson, a spot filled in an interim capacity since last month by former Wallaby Paul McLean.
He is one of the board’s most senior directors, having served in that role for the past eight years after an almost five-year stint as RA president from 2005-2009.
McLean took over last month from previous incumbent Cameron Clyne, who is stepping down at the AGM
The new chair is expected to take over from McLean mid-year, allowing a gradual transition into the role.
RA has plenty on its plate over the next year, including finalising a new broadcast deal which had been put on hold, bidding for the 2027 World Cup and a looming new collective bargaining agreement.