England's rugby union players accept 25% pay cut
England's players have accepted a 25 percent pay cut for the 2020-21 season as the Rugby Football Union tries to limit the financial fall-out from the coronavirus.
The one-year arrangement with England's men follows talks between the RFU and the Rugby Players' Association.
With the government reviewing plans to allow fans back into stadiums in October following a spike in coronavirus cases in the UK, rugby could face a further loss of revenue.
English Premiership matches are currently being played behind closed doors after lay resumed following the lockdown.
England boss Eddie Jones had already agreed to a 25 percent pay cut in March.
"I would like to thank the players and the RPA for their strong co-operation and collaboration which has enabled us to reach this new agreement," RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney said on Saturday.
"This is a special squad of players and their appreciation and understanding of the difficulties being faced across the English game has led to this outcome."
Under the terms of the new agreement, the RFU has made firm commitments around a range of player welfare initiatives with ongoing management of the player welfare process and clearly defined rest periods.
These include a one-week break for England players after their delayed Six Nations match against Italy in Rome on October 31.
A New Year training camp has been cancelled and following the completion of the four-week Autumn Nations Cup, the players will have two weeks of rest with their clubs.
"We are committed to ensuring the RFU runs a sustainable operation to safeguard the future of the game in England and are grateful to the England international playing group for their willingness to accept a reduction in fees over the next 12 months to support this," Sweeney said.
England's Saracens hooker Jamie George added: "The playing group wanted to address some concerns around welfare and rest for the EPS (elite player squad) and we are encouraged by the progress made by all stakeholders.
"We fully understand the pressures around the next 12 months both on and off the pitch, so it was vital for us to agree these provisions going forward."
© 2020 AFP