April 6 (Reuters) - Fiji Rugby has endorsed the implementation of cost-cutting measures amid "significant financial challenges" caused by the coronavirus pandemic, its chief executive John O'Connor said on Monday.
All rugby competitions in Fiji have been shut down until further notice after the first case of the new coronavirus was confirmed in the Pacific island nation on March 20.
"All unions globally are facing significant financial challenges and responsible financial decisions have to be made to preserve the operating ability and financial integrity of Fiji Rugby long term," O'Connor said in a statement.
Fiji Rugby's gyms have been closed and elite players are under individual fitness programmes at home, while several members of the governing body's staff have taken annual leave.
O'Connor added that contracted staff, players and coaches had reduced their work to three days a week.
"Further cost-cutting measures such as leave without pay will be implemented should the situation not improve in the near future and there's no rugby kicking off," O'Connor said.
"We're in extraordinary times with this COVID-19 pandemic. We'll continue to monitor the financial impact on our operations and also continue discussions with World Rugby and our sponsors.
"However, if the situation continues to escalate, further drastic reductions may be required."
The announcement of Fiji Rugby's measures follows media reports that two unidentified professional players had been arrested for flouting self-isolation rules.
More than 1.21 million people have been reported infected by the virus around the world and it has caused more than 65,000 deaths, according to a Reuters tally. (Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru Editing by Robert Birsel)