All Blacks head coach Ian Foster yesterday said that he would take a pay cut and players would follow suit as New Zealand Rugby cuts expenses while professional competitions are shuttered during the COVID-19 outbreak.
In a radio interview, Foster confirmed that he and other coaches had agreed to substantial pay cuts as long as New Zealand Rugby’s revenues are affected. He did not give a percentage figure.
“Our coaching group has definitely taken a big cut,” Foster told radio Newstalk ZB. “It’s already been agreed to.”
“With rugby, when there’s no games there’s no revenue and that’s a tough thing,” Foster said. “There’s been a lot of shaving of the programs and what it’s also come down to is cutting salaries. That’s happened for some and happening for others.”
Foster said he had spoken to several All Blacks players who accept that their pay is to be cut and are prepared to make that sacrifice while the southern hemisphere Super Rugby tournament is suspended.
July Test matches in New Zealand and Australia are also in doubt.
“It’s a different sort of process for players, but I know that they’re willing to go into that space too,” he said. “As we go through the next few days, that will be finalized.”
“It’s a given, they understand that,” Foster added. “It’s just a matter of working it through so all the different levels of players are dealt with fairly. I haven’t had one player yet who doesn’t know it’s going to happen or doesn’t accept that it’s going to happen.”
Players and coaches in many professional sports around the world are taking pay cuts while leagues are suspended.
New Zealand rugby has been hard hit by the shutdown, Foster said. “It’s a dire state when you can’t play a game. We’re obviously in a high-cost, high-revenue industry and when the revenue dies, you’re left with high costs, so it’s a no-brainer. There’s going to be some pain.”
Australian Rugby League Commission chairman Peter V’landys said that he expected to announce tomorrow a rescue package for clubs and players during the coranavirus crisis.
The National Rugby League is suspended indefinitely, putting clubs and the sport itself under extreme financial pressure.
“I will put a package to the commission on Monday morning and then hopefully make an announcement that afternoon that I think the players and the clubs will be happy with,” V’landys told the Sydney Morning Herald.
On Friday, Australian Rules football players in the Australian Football League agreed after lengthy negotiations to take pay cuts.
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