Wasps and Worcester Warriors have announced they will be cutting player and staff wages to manage club finances.
Both Premierships will cut wages by 25 per cent come April 1, though employees earning below a certain threshold will not be affected so as to not bring any hardship upon them.
In the hours following their announcement, Gloucester and Saracens confirmed they had taken the same measures.
As rugby across the globe is halted by the coronavirus outbreak, Wasps chief executive Stephen Vaughan stressed the importance of maintaining sustainability through the five-week shutdown period announced by Premiership Rugby last week.
“As a club and business, we are having to make difficult decisions to navigate these unchartered waters and ensure the club is in a position to continue its exciting journey when we come through this global emergency,” Vaughan said.
“We need to take some extremely difficult and significant action to reduce costs immediately so we can resume doing what we love when this is all over. The impact of these decisions is going to be felt across the whole business.
“Having discussed this situation at length with my colleagues from across the league, as well as Premiership Rugby, we are putting in place salary reductions of 25 per cent across the majority of the rugby department until we are playing Gallagher Premiership matches again. These measures will take effect from 1st April 2020. A number of lower paid staff will be excluded from these salary reductions.
“I spoke with Lee Blackett (Wasps interim head coach) and senior members of the playing squad last night, and we then communicated this message to the wider team and colleagues. I could not be more proud of their response, understanding and determination to help the club in such testing times. The same is true of the players’ efforts to support our wider community stay connected and keep talking, which I am sure you will be aware of.”
The measure taken by Wasps and Worcester isn’t expected to be isolated, with news emerging on Thursday that several Premiership clubs were in the process of considering salary cuts.
This week the UK government announced that schools will be closed to the vast majority of pupils and that retired NHS staff should return to the health service.
The outlook for Premiership season remains uncertain with eight rounds of fixtures left to be played as the knockout stage and final to follow in June.
In a statement, Worcester also confirmed: “We are in constant dialogue with Premiership Rugby, our fellow Premiership clubs as well as organisations in other sports including football to ensure we have the most comprehensive information available.
“We have long-term plans to make the club sustainable through the development of the Sixways site which is making real progress with the support of our local authority.
“In the short-term all our staff will take a 25 per cent pay cut effective from April 1.
“The 25 per cent reduction will not apply to staff below a certain salary threshold to ensure they are protected. We have offered as much support as we can to any member of staff who may suffer particular hardship as a consequence.”
“We appreciate this is not an ideal situation for anyone but we hope that with the support of our loyal and dedicated staff in these difficult and challenging times that we can manage our way through this period.
“Our aim is to plan for the day in the near future when we re-open the gates of Sixways to a full house where we can all enjoy cheering on the boys and the dizzying highs and lows that come with it.”
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