South Africa Rugby has unveiled a huge cost-saving package of upwards of R1billion (£42.8million) which they hope can successfully get them through the next eight months and into 2021. The home of the 2019 World Cup winners has accepted they are in a fight for survival following the stoppage of rugby around the globe due to the coronavirus pandemic and an industry financial impact plan (IFIP) has been formulated to help guide them through turbulent times. 

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In a statement, SA Rugby outlined that the country’s rugby industry has agreed in principle a wide-ranging plan to cut between R700m to R1b from its budget.

It claimed the plan was agreed in a united strategy formulated in discussions including representatives from all stakeholders: SA Rugby, provincial unions, players and rugby industry employees and it includes a “united and collective approach towards salary reductions”. 

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Other savings were envisaged through reduced expenditure caused by the cancellation of competitions and cuts in other operational budgets.

“Many businesses find themselves in a fight for survival and rugby is no different,” said Jurie Roux, SA Rugby CEO. “We face an extremely threatening crisis and we had to take united and decisive action to address it head-on. I’d like to commend the employees, players and the unions for the collaborative and realistic way they have approached this crisis. We are all in this together and we all quickly agreed that we have to equally contribute to the solution.”

The salary reductions were now being communicated to those effected before final approval through the various governance channels of SA Rugby, MyPlayers, Sports Employees Unite and the individual unions. “Our income is tied to the playing of professional rugby and without matches, we potentially don’t have any income,” said Roux. “We don’t know when we will be able to resume the season so have had to budget against a range of scenarios.

“This IFIP has been formulated against a worst-case scenario where we are not able to resume play for the rest of the year. It means we face a major belt-tightening exercise on a sport-wide and personal level, but without these measures we wouldn’t have much of a sport to return to.”

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