Premiership clubs ask players to take pay cuts
NEWS: Internal chaos has descended on the Premiership as numerous clubs asked players to consider drastic pay cuts to enable them to survive the COVID-19 suspension.
On Monday Premiership Rugby Ltd decided to suspend the competition for five weeks, although it is looking increasingly likely that the season will be scrapped completely.
In clubs across England, management teams broke the news to players of the need for pay cuts. With a hugely decreased attendance revenue, already cash strapped sides could sink further into the red and now many have taken the unprecedented step of turning to the players to tighten their belts.
The massive drop in revenue could even present an existential threat to some of the English top flight’s most prestigious clubs.
At least seven clubs have asked players to take pay cuts ranging from 25 percent, 50 percent; and in one instance, according to RugbyPass, right up to a full pay suspension.
The Rugby Player Association (RPA) are advising players to hold fire before agreeing to any cuts. A player’s board meeting was held on Thursday between the representatives of Premier Rugby Ltd and the RPA, in which details of a 25 percent cut were tabled to the players’ body.
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A spokesperson for the RPA told RugbyPass: “We understand that this is an incredibly fast-paced and unprecedented situation that is effecting every strata of society.
“Firstly, as an organisation, we have to understand how a 25 percent cut was arrived at and what the implications of those cuts have on lower-paid players within the league.
“Against that, we understand that for some clubs, the significant disruption of revenue could possibly see sides go to the wall and that players might not have a place of work next season as a result, a situation nobody clearly wants.
“We obviously want a situation where we have 13 clubs who can thrive.”
The matter of the Premiership’s CVC windfall and where those monies have gone was also discussed at the meeting in the context of pay cuts being asked of the players. Just over a year ago the clubs received a £13 million windfall each following the sale of a 27 percent stake to private equity firm CVC.
Other than Exeter Chiefs, it is estimated that Premiership clubs each season run at a collective loss of over £40million, which works out at an average of approximately £3million per club.
Around the globe, the economic effects of the COVID-19 outbreak on Rugby Union are starting to take hold.
In the Top 14 players have all been on half-unemployment but will seemingly get the opportunity to make back the differences with future earnings.
The players association in New Zealand says it hasn’t ruled out pay cuts for players in their jurisdiction due to the shutdown of Super Rugby.
New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association boss Rob Nichol told Stuff this week that: “We know there is going to be a commercial impact, we know we will have to sit around the table and work with the other stakeholders and be a part of the solution.”
By Ian Cameron, @RugbyPass