Players’ union ‘reluctantly’ accepts need for pay cuts

All 157 contracted players to be furloughed as the Scottish Rugby Union adpats to the continuing effects of the coronavirus crisis

From left: Rugby Players Scotland interim CEO Bill Mitchell, Chairman Tim Swinson and Trustee Rob Harley. Image: © Craig Watson.

RUGBY PLAYERS SCOTLAND has responded to Scottish Rugby’s plans to cut its members’ wages by saying it has ‘reluctantly’ accepted that the move is reasonable in the circumstances. Speaking publicly for the first time since the governing body announced its proposed sliding scale of wage cuts for players, RPS interim chief executive Bill Mitchell said he had had to accept that present circumstances made it impossible to ensure job security under current income levels. 

“Along with all other national player associations RPS is very concerned about the uncertainty surrounding our sport internationally,” Mitchell said this afternoon in a statement released by the SRU. “We have worked hard over the last few weeks to find ways of achieving long-term sustainability of employment for our members without impacting on incomes. However, we now acknowledge that the growing difficulty of implementing a realistic timetable for restarting global competition makes that goal impossible to achieve.

“Reluctantly, therefore, we are forced to conclude that the actions announced on Monday by Scottish Rugby represent a reasonable way to protect the long-term employment of our membership, while addressing the immediate financial challenges facing the sport in Scotland.”

SRU announce wage cuts in response to coronavirus crisis

That was the Premiership season that almost was: Marr

That was the Premiership season that almost was: Currie Chieftains  

Those actions mean that all playing staff earning more than £50,000 per year will have their salaries for the next five months cut, with the precise amount depending on which salary bracket individuals come under. The top earners among the playing staff, those earning over £200,000 per year, face a 25 per cent cut.

All 157 contracted players are to be furloughed under the UK government’s scheme, which provides individuals with 80 per cent of their salaries up to £2,500 per month. The sliding scale of cuts is part of the SRU’s attempt to come to terms with a potential multi-million-pound loss as a result of the coronavirus crisis, which as well as stalling the current season now threatens both Scotland’s summer tour and the three Autumn Tests.

Jim Mallinder, Murrayfield’s director of performance rugby, added: “We are in unprecedented circumstances and one of the consequences of the coronavirus pandemic is that all rugby has ceased both domestically, internationally and professionally. This has had a significant impact on Scottish Rugby, as it has on others involved in the game and other sports.

“Together, Scottish Rugby and Rugby Players Scotland have recognised that we need to take appropriate measures as a result of this. This approach will allow us to protect our players and the organisation as much as possible through this uncertain period. This is a rapidly changing picture. We will continue our positive dialogue with RPS to assess what we need to do to protect our sport, our people and the rugby community.”

The SRU statement also confirmed the categories of players affected by the scheme. “The salary reductions discussed cover all contracted Scottish Rugby players earning more than £50,000 a year,” it said. “Subject to the outcome of consultation with players affected, these player salaries will be reduced by 10 to 25 per cent from 1 April to 1 September 2020 depending on the scale of pay.

“Players from Glasgow Warriors, Edinburgh Rugby, Scotland 7s, Stage 3 Scottish Rugby Academy and Scotland Women 2021 contracted players will be furloughed under the UK Government’s Job Retention Scheme designed to help support any organisation with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.”

That was the Premiership season that almost was: Marr  




About Stuart Bathgate 1415 Articles
Stuart has been the rugby correspondent for both The Scotsman and The Herald, and was also The Scotsman’s chief sports writer for 14 years from 2000.


  1. Do I detect some Murrayfield spin in this statement.

    “however we now acknowledge”
    “Reluctantly therefore, we are forced to conclude”
    “actions announced on Monday by Scottish Rugby represent a reasonable way to protect”

    i.e. it’s the players Union that have held up this salary reduction, not us.

    And why release the statement via the SRU – they should be releasing it themselves – or did they just let Murrayfield write the statement on their behalf.

    P.S. is this the first official statement that Mallinder is actually in post?

    • Announced yesterday and the RPS getting something out now.

      Why are things never smooth with SRU communications?

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