Premiership clubs seek state help to bail them out as coronavirus casts dark financial shadow over rugby
- English Premiership clubs are asking for help to protect them from financial ruin
- Clubs have taken the option of furloughing players – having already cut wages
- Sale Sharks, Wasps and Gloucester have all opted to furlough their playing staff
- Coronavirus symptoms: what are they and should you see a doctor?
English Premiership clubs are queuing up to seek financial help from the Government as the coronavirus pandemic continues to cast long shadows over rugby.
As the sport scrambles to save itself from financial ruin, top-flight clubs are now taking the option of furloughing players, having already cut wages across the board.
Sportsmail understands Sale Sharks, Wasps and Gloucester are the first Premiership teams to opt for the measure which could save them £100,000 a month each.
Sale Sharks are the latest English Premiership club to have opted to furlough their players
Newcastle Falcons, the top side in the now-cancelled Championship, were the first major rugby club to furlough their staff and players. With no income and no prospect of matches until the summer, Premiership clubs are following suit to try to cut costs and claw back money.
Players and staff will be paid 75 per cent of their full wages, as indicated last week, but via the furlough scheme clubs will be able to claim back £2,500 per month per individual from the state.
Being furloughed, though, means players cannot work — a grey area for professionals who are trying to keep fit.
Newcastle Falcons were the first major rugby club to furlough their staff and players
This furlough move is supposed to be until the end of May but can be extended.
Meanwhile, the 25 per cent pay cuts players took are now starting to hit their bank accounts.
As Sportsmail reported 10 days ago, a large number of Premiership players are reserving their position for a possible challenge down the line.
It is understood league organisers PRL are not enforcing blanket financial measures, letting each club make their own decision.
The top 12 clubs lost around £50million collectively before private-equity firm CVC boosted coffers in 2018.
But across the world rugby is edging towards a monetary meltdown. Australian Rugby stood down 75 per cent of their staff, worried they face losses of £60m (AU$120m) and USA Rugby filed for bankruptcy.
Closer to home, Wales boss Wayne Pivac followed England head coach Eddie Jones by taking a 25 per cent pay cut — alongside WRU chief executive Martyn Phillips and other top brass — as the Welsh union furloughed many of their other staff.
England boss Jones and senior RFU executives took ‘in excess of’ a 25 per cent pay cut last week but Scotland coach Gregor Townsend, as well as Glasgow’s Dave Rennie and Edinburgh’s Richard Cockerill, have only deferred 25 per cent of their pay until September while SRU CEO Mark Dodson, on a basic salary of around £450,000 a year, is only deferring 30 per cent.
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