Irish rugby agrees player wage cuts, deferrals for rest of 2020

London (AFP) –


Irish rugby players earning more than 25,000 euros (£22,500, $28,000) per year have agreed to a 10 per cent salary reduction for the second half of 2020 as well as a further 10 per cent deferral of their wages until 2021 due to the economic impact of coronavirus.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and Rugby Players Ireland (RPI) have been in talks for several weeks and announced a deal had been agreed on Monday.

The period will run from July 1 to December 31 this year.

Half of the 10 percent deferral could also be subject to a retrospective salary reduction if the financial impact of the pandemic proves to be even worse than accounted for so far.

IRFU chief executive Philip Browne said: "Irish Rugby, like all sports organisations, businesses and society in general, has been severely impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis with major uncertainty continuing around our future financial income streams.

"The IRFU, the Provinces and Clubs remain in a highly precarious financial situation, making it critically important that an agreement was reached on this matter."

Unlike in England where a bitter row over pay has erupted between the players union and Premiership clubs, the RPI highlighted a "good working relationship with the IRFU" as key to the agreement.

"Aware of the significant challenges facing not just rugby but the country as a whole as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we believe the agreement reached is reflective of our shared ambition to see rugby at all levels continue to thrive," said RPI chief executive Simon Keogh.

Irish provinces Leinster, Munster, Ulster and Connacht are set to return to action in the Pro 14 next month.