Ireland's rugby players earning more than €25,000 per year will take a 10% pay cut while deferring another 10% until January 2021 at the earliest after the IRFU and Rugby Players Ireland finally reached agreement after almost a month of talks on pay tonight.
The players have been informed of the news this evening and the union is expected to confirm details of the deal Monday night after the series of meetings culminated with players accepting a deal that will see them take a smaller pay cut than the IRFU had sought initially, which will be offset by a pay deferral scheme.
Under the deal, players will take a 10% reduction in salary from July 1 until December 31, with a further 10pc deferred for the same period, with 5% subject to a retrospective salary reduction pending the ongoing impact of the Covid-19 Pandemic.
The players were put on a pay deferral scheme in March with the rest of the IRFU staff, but that came to an end at the end of this month and non-playing staff were put on a four-day week.
The IRFU had initially sought a flat 20% cut for all players, but negotiations got off on a bad foot when the players issued a statement in response to news of that figure breaking before it had been proposed to them.
Commenting on the agreement, Philip Browne, IRFU Chief Executive, said:
"Irish Rugby, like all sports organisations, businesses and society in general, has been severely impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 crisis with major uncertainty continuing around our future financial income streams. The IRFU, the Provinces and Clubs remain in a highly precarious financial situation, making it critically important that an agreement was reached on this matter."
Rugby Players Ireland CEO, Simon Keogh, added:
"Aware of the significant challenges facing not just rugby but the country as a whole as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, we believe the agreement reached is reflective of our shared ambition to see rugby at all levels continue to thrive. We would like to acknowledge the good working relationship with the IRFU that has underpinned the process and will continue to contribute to Ireland’s on-field success. The players have already returned to work and are focused on preparing for the much-anticipated return to competitive rugby in August."