New Zealand slash salaries as sport reels from virus

By AFP: Thursday, April 2nd 2020 at 12:00 GMT +3 | Rugby
Rugby Union - Rugby World Cup - Semi Final - England v New Zealand - International Stadium Yokohama, Yokohama, Japan - October 26, 2019. New Zealand's Richie Mo'unga reacts after the match. REUTERS/Matthew Childs

New Zealand Rugby slashed wages for all staff and warned of up to NZ$100 million (Sh6.3 billion) in lost revenue yesterday as leading governing bodies scrambled to absorb the blows of the coronavirus pandemic.

New Zealand's emergency measures come after England, Scotland and Wales all cut pay for top officials, and follow Rugby Australia's decision to temporarily lay off three-quarters of its workers.

NZR chief executive Mark Robinson said that in a worst-case scenario, the All Blacks -- the top-ranked Test team and three-time world champions -- and the country's five Super Rugby teams, would not play again this year.

He said NZR needed to staunch cash outflows and staff had agreed to a 40 percent pay cut for the next three months, with talks underway with players.

"It's an incredibly challenging time, we have fantastic rugby people all around the country at the moment dealing with difficult financial circumstances," Robinson told reporters.

The southern hemisphere's Super Rugby season has been suspended and July internationals are also in doubt after the coronavirus prompted tough containment measures and curbed international travel.

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The annual Rugby Championship, featuring New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina, is scheduled to start in August.

Robinson said he had been in contact with the global governing body World Rugby about the prospect of NZR receiving financial support.

"They're going through a process of gathering as much information as they can, once they digest that I'd imagine they'll come back to us with some ideas," he said.

NZR said it had made emergency grants of NZ$250,000 to each of New Zealand's Super Rugby clubs to tide them over for the next three months.

New Zealand's cuts came after Scotland announced a 25 percent salary deferral for their coach, Gregor Townsend, and Wales's Wayne Pivac reduced his wages by the same figure.

Townsend's deferral, covering April 1 to September 1, will also apply to Edinburgh boss Richard Cockerill and Glasgow counterpart Dave Rennie.


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