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Still no resolution in IRFU discussions with players over possible salary cuts

The two parties will meet again next week after today’s discussions failed to produce a decision.

NEGOTIATIONS BETWEEN the IRFU and Rugby Players Ireland [RPI] about potential pay cuts for professional players in Ireland will move into a third week after the parties failed to reach a decision at a meeting today.

The IRFU are understood to be keen to enact salary reductions of up to 20% for professional rugby players amidst the financial challenge of rugby being put on hold due to the Covid-19 crisis.

However, RPI said it was “very disappointed” about a media report in which the IRFU was quoted regarding possible cuts before the union had made any proposal to RPI on the matter.

ireland-captains-run-aviva-stadium Johnny Sexton is part of RPI's executive board. Source: Donall Farmer

It has since emerged that RPI has been keen to take a close look at the IRFU’s accounts before potentially accepting that the union needs to make salary reductions.

The two parties met last week and again today but have still not reached a resolution.

“The IRFU and Rugby Players Ireland jointly confirm that representatives of the two organizations met again on Wednesday 24th June to discuss the financial implications of Covid 19 on the IRFU and the player group,” says a joint statement.  

“No decisions were made and the two groups will meet again next week.” 

Rugby players in Ireland have been on a pay deferral scheme since the lockdown of rugby began in March, with deferrals ranging from 10% to 50% depending on each player’s salary level.

However, the IRFU is understood to be keen to conclude that scheme at the end of June, meaning next week’s meeting is of pressing importance.

RPI, for their part, are thought to be intent not to rush into any decision, particularly after its disappointment about the IRFU going on the record before a proposal had been made.

Munster and Leinster players have returned to training this week at their respective high performance centres in Limerick and Dublin, while Connacht and Ulster are due to being their pre-seasons next week.

The IRFU’s pay deferral scheme for non-playing staff is set to finish at the end of June, with employees taking up to 20% pay cuts and moving onto four-day working weeks.

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Murray Kinsella

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