Welsh rugby agrees on 25% pay cut to regional players

Alun Wyn Jones
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The Welsh rugby professional rugby board (PRB) have come to an agreement with the Welsh rugby player’s association on a proposal for 25% salary reductions to some players in the regional game. 

Robert Rees brings you the latest on the announcement.

What is in the proposal?

The 25% reductions are a pay cut, not a deferral, which some other rugby parties have taken.

The salary cuts won’t affect any player who earns less than £25,000 per annum and in line with the Welsh Rugby Union’s (WRU) recent announcement about its own full-time staff, the reductions will not apply to players earnings of 25k per annum or less, but each of Wales’ four professional 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 agreements have been brokered after many disagreements over the size of cuts and whether they are needed, and has had input from each of the four regions, WRU and WRPA along the way.

There was also an independent chair in Amanda Blanc, who said;

“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.

“But they are in the midst of short careers, many in the prime of those careers and we are asking them to make a financial sacrifice that they won’t have planned for.

“We explored a range of options, including deferment of pay, but have agreed on a reduction once all the relevant information and scenarios were considered.”

WRPA satisfied with outcome

Barry Cawte, CEO of the WRPA has stated his satisfaction with the agreed outcome.

“Our Executive Committee and senior player group have worked around the clock to ensure we could find an agreement that will play a significant part in protecting the game

“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.

“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.

“In a sign of solidarity for all our rugby colleagues all WRPA staff will also be taking the same pay cut.”

Players follow Wales board and coaching staff

WRU CEO Martyn Phillips and head coach of the national team Wayne Pivac have already taken 25% cuts to their income, among the other high ranked personnel at the WRU.

Other staff employed by the union have been dealt with 10% cuts, in line with their earnings, with many on furlough, in accordance to governmental allowances.

All measures began on April 1.

 

“Main photo credit”

Alun Wyn Jones
Wales’ lock Alun Wyn Jones attends the captain’s run training session at the Principality stadium in Cardiff, south Wales on November 9, 2018, on the eve of their autumn international rugby union match against Australia. Credit GEOFF CADDICK/AFP/Getty Images)