Coronavirus: Scottish Rugby asks players, staff to take wage cuts

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend and his players are set to take a wage cut amid the coronavirus crisis. Photo by ANNE-CHRISTINE POUJOULAT/AFP via Getty Images

The Scottish Rugby Union (SRU) said it would discuss a salary reduction programme for higher earning players and staff with the governing body's finances badly hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend and the SRU board have taken a 25% wage deferral until Sept. 1 to help ease the burden, while chief executive Mark Dodson has taken a 30% deferral.

Executive directors including Dodson have also waived their annual bonus entitlements for the financial year 2019-2020.

Coronavirus: Postponements and cancellations in sport

"Scottish Rugby will consult with all players and identified staff on a salary reduction programme focused on our higher earning employees and players," Dodson said in a statement on Monday.

The game in Scotland has been suspended since March 13 due to the outbreak of the flu-like virus that has infected over 1.9 million people globally, causing 118,376 deaths.

Dodson added a portion of Scottish Rugby's 450-strong staff will be furloughed, although 75% will remain unaffected by these changes and have their salaries maintained.

He said that Scotland's summer tour involving two tests against world champions South Africa and one in New Zealand were "very unlikely" to go ahead.

There is also uncertainty over the November tests against Argentina, Japan and New Zealand, he added.

"If the Autumn tests were to be cancelled, we face a further loss of expected revenue well in excess of £12 million," Dodson added.

"We have to assume that any league or tournament rugby would also then be unable to take place for a period, exacerbating the loss of income.

"Like many we hope the professional game season can be completed, but have no guarantee that even a truncated end to any of the competitions will happen."

Meanwhile, chief executive Rugby Players' Association Damian Hopley has warned the game will struggle financially due to the impact of the outbreak.

"We have had an extraordinary three weeks trying to come to terms with the financial freefall we are in," he told The Ruck podcast.

"The most important thing is marrying up the playing and commercial challenges

"From a catastrophic situation we are all in, that is where the opportunity may arise to take survey the landscape and say, 'Where do we need to be in five, ten years' time?'

"The game is on the brink in many ways. The definition of madness is doing the same things time and again and expecting a different outcome."