Australian National Rugby Team Players 'Poised To Accept Pay Cuts' To Ensure ARU's Survival
Australia's national rugby team's players "are poised to accept pay cuts to help stop the cash-strapped code going broke," according to the AAP. The Australian Rugby Union's "survival is at stake as it sits in a perilous financial position" after recording a A$19M ($18M) deficit in the past two years and a "worrying slump in support for the 15-man game." The Wallabies' "dismal results this year -- winning just three of their nine Tests to drop to No.4 in the world -- have also impacted on attendances and sponsorship." In eight months since replacing John O'Neill as ARU CEO, Bill Pulver, in his own words, has "brutally attacked the cost base" by making cuts across the board. Even a "welcome windfall from the British and Irish Lions tour in winter won't get the ARU out of the hole dug by years of over-expenditure, largely with executive salaries." Pulver: "From a financial perspective we're going to be skating on thin ice for the next couple of years. Can we get through? Yes, we can. Is it going to be bloody hard? Yes, it is." Both Pulver and Rugby Union Players Association CEO Greg Harris confirmed "Test match payments -- which would currently see a Wallaby" earn A$196,000 if he played all 15 Tests this year on top of his salary -- were "among issues being addressed." Former World Cup-winning skipper Nick Farr-Jones "has led calls for incentive-based pay, claiming Wallabies should be paid far less for defeats" (AAP, 10/16).