IRFU talks with Rugby Players Ireland over proposed player wage cuts have been suspended for the day without resolution.
Rugby’s governing body on the island of Ireland and the professional players’ representative body are attempting to find common ground on salary reductions in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic which caused the sport to be shut down in early March.
All professional players in Ireland are employees of the IRFU, either under central or provincial contracts, and in line with other staff members agreed to pay deferrals of up to 50 per cent at the end of March, when the 2019-20 season was suspended indefinitely.
The absence of games at provincial and international level has seen income dry up and IRFU chief executive Philip Browne has described revenues as having “fallen off a cliff” with no matches scheduled until the PRO14 season resumes on August 22-23.
While IRFU administrative and other non-performance staff members have been put on a four-day week, a proposal leaked last month to cut player wages by 20 per cent is understood to have caught RPI by surprise and is believed to have clouded hopes of a swift resolution to the talks, although the player body has been given access to the IRFU books for examination of the organisation’s financial status.
A brief joint statement from the two bodies issued following the break-up of talks until later this week or possibly early next week read: “Rugby Players Ireland and the IRFU jointly confirm that discussions remain ongoing. Both parties are still working towards a solution.”
Asked earlier in the day about the talks during an unrelated video conference with the media, RPI board member and Munster captain Peter O’Mahony declined to comment.