Reigning French champions Toulouse have become the latest Top 14 club to announce an agreement with management and players for a drop in wages for the 2020/21 season. Title-winners in 2019, Toulouse were lying in seventh place when the 2019/20 season was cancelled with nine rounds of regular season fixtures still to be played. 

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Rather than hang on in hope that their suspended campaign might still be salvaged, French officials pulled the plug at the end of April on any lingering restart hopes. 

This has allowed clubs the leeway to plan ahead for the new season in September and with the coronavirus pandemic expected to affect revenues for quite some time, Toulouse have now followed Castres and Toulon in cutting their wage bill for next term.

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In a statement released on the club’s website, Toulouse explained: “An agreement has been reached between the management of the club and the players of the professional workforce for a reduction in their remuneration for the 2020/2021 season.

“This decision comes after discussions on the impact of the economic crisis linked to Covid-19 affecting all professional rugby clubs for several weeks. This project, which had been exposed to the entire workforce by our president Didier Lacroix, was approved unanimously.

“He plans to cut wages by up to 15% on professional staff during the 2020/2021 season, provided that competition resumes normally in September. Similar negotiations will soon be conducted with the sports staff.

“For confidentiality reasons, the club management and the players do not wish to comment on all of the measures validated today.”

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Toulouse’s anxieties about the short-term future have also resulted in Champions Cup officials investigating different competition models for 2020/21. 

The club’s current seventh spot in the French league would not be enough to see them qualify for the Champions Cup under the existing 20-team structure.

Their disquiet was taken on board by EPCCR officials, who admitted the usual rankings system wasn’t ideal given that the Top 14 season had so many matches left unplayed. 

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