Scottish Rugby to cut pay and furlough some staff

Scottish Rugby said on Monday it will discuss a salary reduction programme for higher earning players and staff as it gave more details on how its finances will be hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

Scottish Rugby CEO Mark Dodson said Scotland’s summer tour involving two tests against world champions South Africa and one in New Zealand were “very unlikely” to go ahead. 

Dodson added that there is also uncertainty over the planned November tests against Argentina, Japan and New Zealand.

In a statement, Dodson said: “Our income streams are being badly affected as match day receipts and other revenues from the likes of PRO14 and EPCR fixtures and activity that might otherwise be taking place at BT Murrayfield are interrupted. 

“Like many we hope the professional game season can be completed, but have no guarantee that even a truncated end to any of the competitions will happen.

“As it now stands it would appear very unlikely the annual summer tours to the Southern Hemisphere will take place. This has a further impact on our income. 

“There is also developing uncertainty on when Scottish Rugby might be able to put Autumn Test tickets on sale, and indeed if these games will go ahead as originally planned.

“We are due to play Argentina, Japan and New Zealand in November. 

“The significant ticket revenue from these games would normally come into Scottish Rugby during the summer.

“With wider social uncertainty we also don’t want to place a burden on our supporters at this time, given the challenging circumstances everyone finds themselves in. 

“If the Autumn Tests were to be cancelled, then we face a further loss of expected revenue well in excess of £12 million.

“We have to assume that any league or tournament rugby would also then be unable to take place for a period, exacerbating the loss of income.”

Dodson said that to prepare for these potential financial scenarios the following decisions have been made by the Scottish Rugby board:

  • The board agreed to cut its fees by 25% until at least September 1, 2020
  • Dodson has volunteered to cut his salary 30% until at least September 1, 2020
  • Executive directors have also volunteered to cut their salaries by 25% until at least September 1, 2020
  • Dodson and other executive directors have also volunteered to waive annual bonus entitlements for the financial year 2019-2020
  • Scottish Rugby is “taking forward proposals” to furlough a proportion of its 450 staff
  • Scottish Rugby “will consult with all players and identified staff on a salary reduction programme focused on our higher earning employees and players.”

Dodson said around 75% of Scottish Rugby’s staff will be unaffected by these changes and will have their salaries maintained. 

“Our players and our coaches cannot fulfil any fixtures and the money we normally expect to make from the professional and international game at this time of the year, and over the summer, has all but disappeared due to the challenges beyond our control,” added Dodson.

“No one knows with any certainty when any rugby can resume.”

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Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.