The IRFU have become the latest rugby organisation in Europe to implement changes in player salary payments due to the coronavirus outbreak.

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However, unlike in France where there has been an across the board 30 per cent pay cut and England where some clubs have instigated a 25 per cent pay cut, players in Ireland have adopted a payment deferral model.

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In a statement, the governing body for rugby in Ireland explained: “The IRFU, Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster, in agreement and partnership with Rugby Players Ireland and its members, have agreed a payment deferral model for all employees.

“These deferrals, based on an equitable sliding scale which ranges from 10 per cent to 50 per cent, will be effective from April and beyond if required but will remain subject to constant review of the financial circumstances of the IRFU and provinces. The IRFU hopes to return to full pay, and repay any deferrals, as soon as possible.”

IRFU CEO Philip Browne added: “We are entering uncharted waters as the covid-19 crisis continues to unfold but we remain hopeful that something of this season can be retrieved later in summer. 

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“This is important as the whole game, amateur and professional, is financially dependent on the resumption of the professional tournaments and the revenues that they generate. 

“With postponement of these tournaments the IRFU and the provinces are facing some daunting financial challenges around loss of revenue and cash flow and we must cut our costs.

“The IRFU has worked closely with our provincial colleagues and our partners in Rugby Players Ireland to move to protect the future of Irish Rugby and this arrangement will allow Irish Rugby the breathing space required in relation to cashflow.

“It can ensure that when this crisis abates, we still have a business that can deliver for all those that play and love rugby. The situation will obviously remain under continuous review in case further action is required. I thank all our partners, Rugby Players Ireland and all our employees for standing with us at this time.”

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Rugby Players Ireland boss Simon Keogh said: “We recognise the need to work with the IRFU with respect to these payment deferrals in light of the current circumstances. All endeavours have been made to contact those affected on an individual basis. 

“Our members appreciate that such moves are necessary in order to protect the future of the game in this country. The health and safety of the public is the priority at this time. We will continue to work with the IRFU as this situation develops.”

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