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'Toughest decision in history': Rugby Australia stand down 75 percent of staff, could lose $120m

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By NZ Herald

Rugby Australia will stand down 75 percent of their staff in what they have called “the toughest decision in the game’s history”.

The announcement has come as a result of the coronavirus pandemic which has halted sport worldwide, and sent economic shockwaves through the sporting world.

Rugby has been one of the hardest hit, including Down Under, with Super Rugby being suspended a result of Government-imposed travel restrictions, before Rugby Australia’s plans for a domestic competition were also suspended given the advice of the Government’s health experts.

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As a result of the lost revenue, Rugby Australia will now stand down 75 per ent of its workforce from April 1 through June 30, while remaining staff have been offered significant salary reductions or reduced hours.

They are projecting a worst-case scenario of up to a $120 million loss in revenue, should the Super Rugby season and the entire Wallabies domestic test calendar be cancelled as a result of the virus.

“Today we have had to deliver the hardest news imaginable to our incredible, hard-working and passionate staff, that many of them will be stood down for a three-month period so that the game can survive this unprecedented crisis,” said Rugby Australia CEO Raelene Castle.

“Since the suspension of our proposed domestic Super Rugby competition, we have been working to understand both the immediate and long-term financial implications for the game as a result of the suspension of the competition, and potential further loss of revenue-generating content as we look ahead to the international season.

“Our extensive modelling shows that as a code, we could lose up to $120 million in revenue should it not be possible for any rugby to be played in 2020. Of course, that is the worst case scenario, and we are very hopeful that we can recommence the Super Rugby season and domestic Wallabies test matches at some point this year.

“The measures we will implement from April 1, although extremely painful, are necessary to ensure the sport remains financially viable and to ensure that we are able to come out the other side of this global crisis, fully-operational and ready to throw everything into the rebuild. It is our priority to keep all of our valued team connected and engaged through this period.”

Castle has taken a 50 per cent pay cut, and Rugby Australia’s executive team will also take 30 per cent pay cuts.

This article first appeared on and was republished with permission.

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