Rugby Australia moving to dump CEO Castle: reports

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Sydney (AFP)

Rugby Australia's chief executive Raelene Castle could be sacked within days with former Wallabies captain Phil Kearns lined up to replace her, according to media reports.

Senior rugby figures in Australia were moving to end Castle's tenure after a dismal financial outlook triggered by the coronavirus-enforced shutdown of the sport, Sydney's Daily Telegraph reported Friday.

The financial woes and several recent changes to Rugby Australia's board meant moves to oust Castle were gaining momentum, the paper added.

Castle announced this week that 75 percent of staff would be stood down for three months without pay and she would take a 50 percent cut to her US$500,000-plus salary.

Negotiations with players over pay were still ongoing but reportedly could cut as deep as 30 to 50 percent.

"Aside from being there to support each other, it is vital that we all pull together," Castle said in a statement Thursday calling for unity during the crisis.

Earlier, Castle said a worst-case scenario, in which the entire season was lost along with Wallabies Tests against Ireland and Fiji, would cost the governing body Aus$120 million (US$72 million) in revenue.

The organisation posted a near Aus$10 million loss in 2019, worsened by a hefty payout to former Wallaby Israel Folau after his sacking over homophobic social media posts.