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Dire straits leave Australian rugby reliant on emergency government funding

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(Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

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Australia’s Super Rugby clubs plan to lean on emergency JobKeeper funding as the code braces for a three-month survival period and its players remain in the dark on their financial situation.


Rugby Australia will stand down 75 per cent of its staff from Wednesday until May 1 as it braces for a potential $120million Covid-19 hit.

Rugby Australia boss Raelene Castle refuses to rule out cutting another Super Rugby team

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The players’ union met with RA on Tuesday but was again left wanting more, representative Justin Harrison saying financial details requested three weeks ago were yet to be seen.

“Although RA provided no assurances, RUPA looks forward to the opportunity to assess that information in the near future,” Harrison said.

They are prepared to take a hit similar to RA chief executive Raelene Castle’s 50 per cent salary sacrifice, while about 100 RA staff and those at Australia’s four Super Rugby clubs also faced uncertain times.


The NSW Waratahs will reportedly stand down 70 per cent of their staff, while the Melbourne Rebels will either stand down or reduce the hours of all their employees.

The Brumbies and Queensland Reds hope to action the $750 per week government JobKeeper scheme announced on Monday to keep all staff on in a part-time capacity, or full-time at a reduced rate.

RA staff are likely to be eligible for the same payment, while they will all return to work if Super Rugby fixtures and July’s Test programme against Ireland and Fiji are given the green light.

“The JobKeeper programme… that’s given us the ability to keep, at this point, everyone in a job,” Queensland Rugby Union chief executive David Hanham said.


“What I’ve heard from our passionate staff is that they want to work and serve rugby and assist the QRU through this global crisis. We’ve been in existence for 138 years, we’re not going anywhere.

“But I do think as a code, once we pop our head out of this storm, we have a good opportunity to look at what reform and innovation we need to make our sport smarter, stronger, more aligned and more effective.”

Hanham forecast a loss in revenue of about $15m for the Reds in the next six-to-eight months.


WATCH: Rugby Australia bracing for ‘significant cuts’ after reporting $9.4million loss

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