Rugby

Wales players agree to 25% pay cut during coronavirus crisis

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ByReuters
08/04/2020 at 17:09 | Updated 08/04/2020 at 17:12

April 8 (Reuters) - Wales' top rugby players will take a 25% pay cut after the Professional Rugby Board (PRB) said on Wednesday it had reached an agreement with the Welsh Rugby Players' Association (WRPA) to reduce salaries during the coronavirus crisis.

The PRB, which represents the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and the four professional regional teams -- Cardiff Blues, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets -- said the cut will not apply to players who earn less than 25,000 pounds ($30,967) a year.

The salary reduction will be effective from April 1 and will run for three months as the sport grapples with the financial impact of the pandemic, which forced the WRU to cancel the season in the country.

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"For our professional players in particular, this has been a really tough decision," Amanda Blanc, the independent chair of the PRB, said in a statement. "They are at the very sharp end of our business, but they are also our biggest cost.

"But they are in the midst of short careers, many in the prime of those careers and we are asking them to make a financial sacrifice that they won't have planned for.

"We explored a range of options, including deferment of pay, but have agreed on a reduction once all the relevant information and scenarios were considered."

The WRU said last week that chief executive Martyn Phillips and Wales head coach Wayne Pivac would both take a 25% pay cut while other staff members would take pay cuts of either 25% or 10% as part of the cost-cutting measures.

WRPA CEO Barry Cawte applauded the players for taking such a measure during "extraordinary times" and confirmed its staff would also be taking a similar pay cut.

"The players are well aware that sacrifices are being made across the country and are keen to do their bit so that rugby will be ready to go when this crisis passes," Cawte said.

"I can only say how proud I am of our members who from the beginning expressed a desire to do whatever was needed to help protect the game and their colleagues."

($1 = 0.8073 pounds) (Reporting by Rohith Nair in Bengaluru Editing by Toby Davis)

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