Rugby Australia cuts one-third of its staff to tackle COVID impact

Ross Houston
June 3, 2020

In addition, Rugby Australia is seeking to implement a 5% reduction in base salary for all senior retained staff.

"It's a great product, gains a lot of attention and we feel at least a four-game series is something we can work into the calendar this year to work for them and us", Clarke said.

"Today the organisation has announced a program of cuts that will result in the departure of 47 of its 142 full-time staff over the coming months", RA said in a statement on Monday.

The first round of RA redundancies had been coming for more than two months, after the code's tenuous financial position was laid bare by the coronavirus pandemic.

A further 30 contractors and casual employees will also have their roles terminated.

About 75% of RA staff were furloughed in March, with the remainder taking 30% pay-cuts after the suspension of the Super Rugby season after seven rounds.

Earlier, the Australian board and the Players' Association reached for an agreement of 60 per cent cut in wages for a six-month period until September.

"Today we have announced phase one of the restructure of the Rugby landscape, and the next phase will focus on the role of Rugby Australia and the Member Unions to find further opportunities for savings and efficiencies in the way we deliver our Rugby programs and administrative operations across each of our businesses", said Clarke.

RA's unaudited accounts had reported a provisional A$9.4 million operating deficit for 2019.

Meanwhile, Argentina's rugby union (UAR) has encouraged Jaguares players to take deals overseas amid an uncertain outlook for Super Rugby due to the coronavirus pandemic, centre Jeronimo de la Fuente told ESPN.

Rugby Australia issued a statement Monday saying travel restrictions and border closures meant the Sunwolves wouldn't have enough time to prepare for the July 3 kickoff.

Australian organisers tried to get the Sunwolves into their competition, based on the fact the Japanese club was in the Australian conference in the regular Super Rugby tournament.

After a two-month lockdown to contain the spread of COVID-19, Australian authorities have allowed sports to restart domestic competition but worldwide fixtures remain in doubt due to travel curbs and border controls.

Governing body SANZAAR has yet to officially abandon the season but the Sunwolves' exit makes it a foregone conclusion.

The Sunwolves were playing their last Super Rugby season in 2020 after the competition chose to cut them past year.

The news could have further ramifications for Australia's Super Rugby franchises, with fears growing that more cuts could be on the cards.

UAR President Marcelo Rodriguez said he was "optimistic" about the Jaguares despite COVID-19's challenges.

Other reports by iNewsToday