Sale Sharks have become the first Gallagher Premiership club to announce that the temporary 25 per cent pay cut agreed last March when the coronavirus outbreak first forced the suspension of the 2019/20 season has been made permanent.
Top-flight clubs voted last week to reduce the league’s salary cap by £1.4million from the 2021/22 season onwards and to help Sharks prepare for this reduction, permanent cuts to salaries have now been agreed with a squad that includes recent South African World Cup winners Faf de Klerk and Lood de Jager along with England World Cup finalist Tom Curry.
The revelation comes just five days after the Rugby Players’ Association slammed clubs in England for the manner in which they were trying to force players from across the league to agree to permanent salary cuts.
An RPA statement on June 12 read: “It is a sad day in the history of rugby that the game finds itself in this position. PRL and the clubs have decided to publicly criticise the RPA and, by doing so, personally attack players and their representatives.
“Throughout this crisis, both the RPA and players have been open to a collaborative and positive solution to address the long-term financial viability of the game.”
No love lost between the RPA and the Premiership clubs as heated row takes turn for worse https://t.co/93lj8jt8oY
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) June 12, 2020
With the Premiership salary cap reductions stating that in order to manage the transition only 75 per cent of “existing contracts” signed before June 18 this year would count towards the cap for future seasons, Sale have now reached agreement with their squad about salaries in the seasons ahead.
A statement issued on Wednesday read: “The club would like to show its full support of the unanimous decision by all 13 clubs to reduce the salary cap ahead of the 2021/22 season.
“This decision has been reached due to the financial impact of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and Sale Sharks is committed to a collaborative approach, alongside the other stakeholders of Premiership Rugby, to ensure the long-term future and financial sustainability of professional rugby in England.
“The repercussions on the professional game could be catastrophic if a number of Premiership Rugby clubs can no longer operate.
“In order to navigate through these challenging times, Sale Sharks have had to have some difficult discussions to ensure the future of the club for its supporters, players and staff and we are very pleased to say that all of our players and staff share the club’s vision and ambition of a sustainable future.
“We are delighted to announce that the club has reached agreement with every single player regarding amended terms to their contracts to facilitate this and that our squad will remain together for the next three or four years.
“The club would also like to thank all our non-playing team including commercial, coaching and medical staff, as they also have agreed pay cuts. Every single person at Sale Sharks has accepted a reduction and is contributing to getting Sale Sharks through these difficult times.
“We look forward to returning to action and completing the 2019/20 Gallagher Premiership season as soon as it is safe to do so.”
“Some clubs are trying to entice or crowbar players into signing longer contracts with 25% of their salary not counting in next season’s cap”
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) June 10, 2020
Speaking in a RugbyToday interview on BT Sport last month when the 25 per cent cut was temporary, Sale boss Steve Diamond said: “The masses at Sale all agreed immediately that this was the thing for the club. Nobody asked what are other clubs doing. We said: ‘This is our club, this is how we run it’.
“You have got to be careful what you wish for some of the time. In these sporting and world days of austerity, I would be tempted to keep my head down, work hard, support the club I work for and if you’re a good player, at your next negotiation you can get some more money.”
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