Time for SA Rugby to tighten its belt

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux
SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux

Desperate times call for desperate measures and SA Rugby is tackling the Covid-19 pandemic head-on with a plan to cut its budget between R700m and R1bn over the next eight months.

When cost-saving measures of this magnitude are made there are bound to be casualties and SA’s professional players are in the firing line.

The players are expected to take cuts in the region of 40% as SA Rugby bids to keep its head above water in these tough times

It is now likely there will be hard bargaining behind closed doors before SA Rugby announces how big the slash will be as the Covid-19  pandemic and ensuing lockdown continue to bite deep into pockets.

SA Rugby CEO Jurie Roux said salary reductions had been agreed in principle by a collective of parties involved in talks.

Those pay cuts were being communicated to those affected before final approval through the various governance channels of SA Rugby, MyPlayers, Sports Employees Unite and the individual unions.

With both the Guinness PRO14 and Super Rugby brought to a standstill, revenue streams have dried up and Roux has begun talking of belt tightening within the rugby industry.

SA Rugby said a plan had been agreed in a united strategy formulated in discussions that  included representatives of all stakeholders.

These include SA Rugby, provincial unions, players and rugby industry employees.

The plan incorporates the industry salary plan, which will see a united and collective approach towards salary reductions.

Reports have surfaced that  players’ organisation MyPlayers wants SA rugby players and coaches to be given the option of cancelling their contracts after accepting salary cuts.

The draft clause would give players and coaches 60 days to get out of their contracts should they receive an offer from another club

One report said SA administrators opposed the clause because they feared several top players could be lost to overseas clubs.

Migration to Europe is already a problem for SA Rugby as players chase euros and pounds to boost their bank balances.

Australia’s professional rugby players took a 60% pay cut as the sport battles the “devastating” shutdown.

It is, as Roux says, time to tighten belts!


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