Wales’ leading international players have agreed to a 25% pay cut as the Welsh Rugby Union looks to implement a number of cost-saving initiatives following the outbreak of COVID-19.
The pay cut is effective from April 1 and will last for four months, however, it will not affect players earning £25k per annum in each of Wales’ four regional teams. Cardiff Blues, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets will now make a vital 25% cost saving on any player salaries over that amount.
Each of the regions have also applied percentage reductions across all full-time staff which is being managed locally to reflect the various business models across the professional game.
The Professional Rugby Board (PRB), representing the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and the four regions, reached the agreement with the Welsh Rugby Players’ Association (WRPA).
“I would like to put on record my thanks to the WRPA, the regional chairs, and the WRU for their efforts in helping reach this decision,” said Amanda Blanc, who was appointed independent chair of the PRB in January.
“Our two guiding principles have been to safeguard the five professional entities in Welsh rugby and to act as fairly and consistently as possible.
“Rugby is a team sport and it is gratifying to note that all parties from players to senior coaches and executive staff agreed to terms which will help us safeguard the future of our game.
“For our professional players in particular this has been a really tough decision, they are at the very sharp end of our business, but they are also our biggest cost.”
In a joining statement, it was confirmed that all members of Wales’ Rugby Players’ Association would take the same 25% pay cut in solidarity with those affected.
“All options were explored along this journey, and these discussions took place against a backdrop of other sports working their way through the same issues”, said CEO of the WRPA Barry Cawte.
“We have a broad membership with players at different points in their careers and throughout we have looked to come to a solution that worked across the board.
“The players are well aware that sacrifices are being made across the country and are keen to do their bit so that rugby will be ready to go when this crisis passes.”
Rugby at all levels in Wales is currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic leading to significant losses for all involved.