An agreement has been reached over salary reductions and deferrals by Rugby players in the professional game here in Ireland.
The original salary deferral agreed in March as the implications of the Covid-19 lockdown began to dawn only ran to the end of June and there have been four rounds of negotiation to get to a point where an extension has now been agreed to the end of 2020.
An original ask of the IRFU that the players take a similar hit to other staff of 20 per cent salary reduction has ended up at half that figure but with an additional 10 per cent deferred and a potential further 5 per cent added to the deferral pending sight of the final financial impact as the rest of the 2020 season plays out.
The cuts only apply to players earning more than a base line of €25,000 per annum.
“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 Rugby Players ireland CEO Simon Keogh.
“We would like to acknowledge the good working relationship with the IRFU that has underpinned the process and will continue to contribute to Ireland’s on-field success.”
“The players have already returned to work and are focused on preparing for the much-anticipated return to competitive rugby in August.”
“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,” said IRFY CEO Philip Browne.
“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.”
It has to be hoped that when the next phase of these discussions comes around that there is scope to move forward with confidence and to make arrangement for settlement of the deferred portion of the salaries.
The IRFU will benefit from a portion of the €40 million which the last government has made available to the three major sporting bodies to mitigate some of the lost revenue which thay have and continue to endure.