Rugby AU and Super clubs stand down staff, talks with players ongoing

FILE PHOTO - Rugby Union - Ireland v Australia - 2013 Guinness Series - Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Republic of Ireland - 16/11/13 Australia's Quade Cooper kicks for goal Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Craig Brough

Rugby Australia has announced it will stand down 75 per cent of its workforce for three months in what the organisation described as the “toughest decision” in the game’s history.

Rugby AU CEO Raelene Castle confirmed in a statement on Tuesday that three-quarters of the administration would be stood down from April 1 to June 30 to keep the organisation afloat during the coronavirus shutdown.

The decision was made based on Rugby Australia’s forecasting of a worst case situation where Super Rugby and the entire Wallabies Test calendar was wiped out as the world dealt with the pandemic.

In that situation, the business would stand to lose $120 million in revenue across the game, something that would be catastrophic.

The remainder of staff will be asked to take significant pay cuts or work reduced hours as rugby works to ensure the survival of the national body and the state unions.

Rugby Australia also met with the Rugby Union Players’ Association on Tuesday as well, detailing the serious cuts they were proposing but those talks are expected to drag on.

“We shared with the Rugby Union Players Association today the breadth of our cost-cutting including the standing down of 75% of our staff. We will work closely with RUPA to reach an agreement which is appropriate given this unprecedented situation,” Castle said in a statement.

RUPA CEO Justin Harrison said in a statement on Tuesday night that they were still awaiting detailed information on Rugby AU’s financial position.

“Australia’s professional rugby union players are still waiting on detailed financial information from Rugby Australia after talks in Sydney today, still not provided after three weeks of requests,” he said.

“Although RA provided no assurances, RUPA looks forward to the opportunity to assess that information in the near future.

“Australia’s professional players also acknowledge Rugby Australia’s decision to stand down 75 per cent of its staff who are stewards for the game.

Tuesday’s announcement comes off the back of Castle’s confirmation on Monday that she would be taking a 50 per cent pay cut and her senior executive would take 30 per cent pay cuts for the next three months at least.

 

Source: Rugby Australia

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