Scottish Rugby agree deal with professional players’ association on salary cuts

Chief Executive Mark Dodson has vowed to slash Murrayfield's costs by £14-million

Matt Fagerson in action for Glasgow Warriors against Edinburgh on Friday night. Image: ©Craig Watson
Matt Fagerson in action for Glasgow Warriors against Edinburgh on Friday night. Image: ©Craig Watson

SCOTTISH RUGBY has reached an agreement with RPS – the association which represents Scotland’s professional players – which will involve salary cuts to help reduce operating costs as the governing body seeks to balance the books through the financial shock of the coronavirus pandemic.

Murrayfield’s Chief Executive Mark Dodson stated earlier this month that he plans to make £14-million in savings across the business (basically cutting costs by just under a quarter) without any redundancies. Given that staffing costs currently make up 52 percent of total expenditure, it was inevitable that salary cuts would have to be agreed.

A programme of temporary salary cuts was put in place from the 1st April for all staff earning over £50,000 (rising incrementally for those who earn over £75,000, £100,000 and £200,000) as part of the initial response to the crisis, but that deal was only to run until the 1st September [tomorrow].

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Details of the new agreement have not been divulged but it has been stated that a programme of reimbursement will be instituted for RPS members “should certain revenue streams be achieved over the course of the coming season” – meaning that players will not necessarily end up significantly out of pocket on their current contracts if the recovery from Covid goes well.

“Scottish Rugby and Rugby Players Scotland (RPS) have now concluded their recent period of negotiation to address the need to reduce operating costs through employee and contracted player salary reductions,” said a joint statement from Scottish Rugby and RPS.

“Against the backdrop of the significant economic impact of Covid-19, RPS entered discussions with Scottish Rugby to find a mechanism whereby its members’ salaries would be subject to reduction, but their overall interests were protected.

“Both parties have now reached an agreement which acknowledges the need for sustainability in the sport in Scotland and meets the respective objectives of the business, while minimising financial hardship to RPS members through a programme of reimbursement should certain revenue streams be achieved over the course of the coming season.

“The discussions were conducted in a positive, open and constructive manner and both Scottish Rugby and RPS have agreed the specific financial details will remain confidential, with no further comment being made at this time.”

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About David Barnes 4004 Articles
David has worked as a freelance rugby journalist since 2004 covering every level of the game in Scotland for publications including The Herald/Sunday Herald, The Sunday Times, The Telegraph, The Scotsman/Scotland on Sunday/Evening News, The Daily Record, The Daily Mail/Mail on Sunday and The Sun.