NZ Rugby slashes salaries, offers rescue grants for Super Rugby teams

New Zealand Rugby chief executive Mark Robinson. Photo: Photosport/RNZ

New Zealand Rugby has slashed its own staff salaries and offered to bail out its Super Rugby franchises with a $1.25 million (US$739,000) rescue package as the sport continues to grapple with the financial implications of Covid-19.

Chief executive Mark Robinson, who is refusing to give up on its premier club competition resuming at some stage in 2020, said the emergency funding would be available to each of the five franchises for the next three months.

“An emergency NZR grant of $250,000 (US$147,000) each is to be made available to all Super Rugby clubs for the next three months which is seen as a critical supplement to other financing options or levers being considered by the clubs,” Robinson said.

“We still think there’s a lot of value in Super Rugby, based on the call we had the other day there’s a lot of excitement and optimism about what it can be in the future, it’s just an incredibly difficult time we’re working through at the moment.”

Robinson confirmed all NZR staff, including its board and All Blacks management, are taking 40 per cent pay cuts across the board as coronavirus bites into its finances. The cuts are for a three-month period, after which they will be reviewed.

NZR is still locked in negotiations with players’ representatives over pay cuts for All Blacks and Super Rugby players but Robinson said those talks were “progressing quite well”.

Robinson has previously estimated a revenue loss of more than $100m(US$59 million) this year in a worst-case scenario, under which no top level rugby is played.

He said the $250,000 rescue package would go a long way to ensuring all five of its Super Rugby franchises remain viable at a “challenging time” for the sport

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