Coronavirus: All Blacks face 50 per cent salary cut due to pandemic

The All Blacks and many of New Zealand’s leading professional players could lose half of their income if no more rugby is possible this year.

New Zealand Rugby (NZR) and the New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association (NZRPA) announced they have agreed to a 50 percent expenditure freeze of “forecasted player spend” for this year in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Effective from May 1, the freeze covers the base salary of All Blacks, Super Rugby, sevens and Black Ferns players earning more than NZ$50,000 (£24,000) as well as allowances and other financial benefits.

“The players are committed to playing their part in ensuring the long-term future of the sport and to ensure the game best manages the financial implications of Covid-19,” New Zealand Rugby Players’ Association chief executive Rob Nichol said.

“In contemplating a scenario based on no professional rugby in 2020, NZR and the NZRPA together recognised the need to act now to prepare the game and the players for this, even if there is every intention of doing all we can to avoid it.

“In the event that this financial scenario eventuates, the frozen payments and benefits would become waived permanently.

“Alternatively, if professional rugby can resume and the financial outlook improves, then some of the frozen payments and benefits could be reinstated.”

New Zealand’s government imposed a strict lockdown last month which forced the suspension of the intercontinental Super Rugby competition after round seven.

The coronavirus outbreak has also cast serious doubt over whether the All Blacks will be able to host July Tests against Wales and Scotland, and the staging of the Rugby Championship and the November tour of Europe.

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