Overseas stints part of rugby stars’ pay deal
Australia's biggest rugby stars will be allowed to chase lucrative, short-term overseas contracts to supplement lost wages after the country's professional players were promised a say in reshaping the future of the game.
The deal will only apply to a handful of players who have already served long stints in Super Rugby but was a key concession in Monday night's landmark agreement on player pay cuts that will save Rugby Australia $13.3 million over the next six months.
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As previously revealed by The Daily Telegraph, Australia's 192 professional players will receive an average salary reduction of 60 per cent until the end of September, with the highest earners sacrificing 67 per cent of their wage and the lowest losing around 20 per cent.
With the aid of the government's JobKeeper scheme, which will kick in $3250 each month per player, the salary bill for RA and Australia's four Super Rugby teams over the six-month period will plummet from $15.9 million to $2.6 million.
"The players recognise and appreciate their role and shared responsibility in securing the future and helping us navigate through this difficult time and I want to thank them," RA chief executive Raelene Castle said.
"This has not been an easy discussion, but it has been a necessary one to ensure that we are able to emerge from the other side of this crisis in the best possible position for the game to move forward. It is important to note that these measures are a stop-gap, not a full-stop."
With RA now able to apply for a multimillion-dollar loan from World Rugby, which has a war chest of $160 million to help struggling unions, fears the administration will fall into voluntary administrations have now eased so the focus will turn to Castle's future and the resumption of matches once the travel and social distancing restrictions are lifted.
RA has 26 different contingency models for matches, but as part of the agreement, which took almost a month to finalise, players will also be given a far more prominent role in determining the best way forward.
"Immediate attention must now turn to the long-term sustainability of the game and this agreement allows the players to make a significant contribution to that," RUPA said in a statement. "RUPA believes in the need for transformation. This process has enabled a greater understanding of the need for root and branch reform of the game."
RA said the handful of top players wanting to go overseas would be limited to one period of six months before the 2023 World Cup.
"This will be managed with the Super Rugby teams and players will not be paid by Rugby Australia or their Super Rugby team while playing offshore," RA said.
Originally published as Overseas stints part of rugby stars' pay deal