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Wage cuts of up to 25% for top Scottish rugby stars could be proposed due to sport's COVID-19 shutdown

By Craig Christie

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THE sporting shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic could see Scotland's leading rugby players hit by pay cuts.

Pay cuts proposed for top Scottish rugby stars
Pay cuts proposed for top Scottish rugby stars

Proposals have been made to reduce top earning Scottish players' salaries by up to 25 per cent over a period of five months.

Talks have taken place between Scottish Rugby and Rugby Players Scotland (RPS), the players’ association, following the closedown of rugby in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The proposed salary reductions reflect the challenging financial situation facing rugby in Scotland, across the UK and the world. Scottish Rugby revenues are being affected as match day receipts from the PRO14 and EPCR tournament fixtures ended and other income generating activity has been interrupted.

All Scottish Rugby-contracted players earning more than £50,000 a year would be affected by the proposed cuts, which are subject to the outcome of consultation with players affected.

If the cuts were accepted, these top earning players' salaries will be reduced by 10 per cent to 25 per cent depending on their scale of pay, between April 1 and September 1 this year.

Players from Glasgow Warriors, Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland 7s, Stage 3 Scottish Rugby Academy and Scotland Women 2021 contracted players will be furloughed under the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme designed to help support any organisation with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

Scottish Rugby’s Director of Performance, Jim Mallinder said: “We are in unprecedented circumstances and one of the consequences of the Coronavirus pandemic is that all rugby has ceased both domestically, internationally and professionally. This has had a significant impact on Scottish Rugby, as it has on others involved in the game and other sports.

“Together, Scottish Rugby and Rugby Players Scotland have recognised that we need to take appropriate measures as a result of this. This approach will allow us to protect our players and the organisation as much as possible through this uncertain period. This is a rapidly changing picture. We will continue our positive dialogue with RPS to assess what we need to do to protect our sport, our people and the rugby community.”

RPS Interim Chief Executive Bill Mitchell said:“Along with all other national player associations RPS is very concerned about the uncertainty surrounding our sport internationally.

“We have worked hard over the last few weeks to find ways of achieving long term sustainability of employment for our members without impacting on incomes, however we now acknowledge that the growing difficulty of implementing a realistic timetable for restarting global competition makes that goal impossible to achieve.

“Reluctantly, therefore, we are forced to conclude that the actions announced on Monday by Scottish Rugby represent a reasonable way to protect the long-term employment of our membership, while addressing the immediate financial challenges facing the sport in Scotland.”

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