Senior executives of the Rugby Football League have taken pay cuts to ease the financial pressures caused by the suspension of the game due to the coronavirus pandemic.
All fixtures were postponed on March 16, initially to April 3 but then suspended indefinitely, and some clubs have already reduced the wages of staff and players as they brace themselves for a lengthy period of inactivity.
The RFL has made no announcement but the PA news agency understands that all senior executives and board members, led by chairman Simon Johnson, agreed to a salary reduction more than a week ago.
The move comes at a time when the RFL is asking the Government for financial assistance to help keep clubs afloat while there is is no match-day income and Super League personnel look set to follow suit.
Super League officials have already cancelled the television show “Inside Super League” as a cost-cutting measure and executive chairman Robert Elstone told a media briefing that furloughing for employees is being considered.
“We’ve spent time looking at our staff base and furloughing is an option for a large number of our employees,” Elstone said.
“We’ve got to respect the fact we have to work that through, communicate with our staff and do it professionally and sympathetically.”
Wigan and England prop George Burgess told an Australian television show that some of the higher-earning Super League players could be facing pay cuts of up to 75 per cent and Toronto Wolfpack’s former All Black Sonny Bill Williams says he would support such a move.
“A 100 per cent I’d be that way inclined,” Williams told Sky Sports News.
“It would be ridiculous to think that in the circumstances we have found ourselves in to keep the game going in whatever sporting field we’re in that we wouldn’t be taking that pay cut.
“Young fellas coming through living paycheck to paycheck and paying off a mortgage would really struggle and in society in general, single mothers and single fathers and the homeless, its a tough time we find ourselves in.
“I consider myself in a really privileged position.
“In terms of sport, it’s crazy to think some teams, some organisations might not make it through.”