'The IRFU have done it in the most equitable way' - Carty on pay deferrals

The Connacht out-half says these are uncertain times for many rugby players.

CONNACHT OUT-HALF Jack Carty has commended the IRFU for opting to enact pay deferrals rather than making job cuts amidst the financial uncertainty caused by the rugby season being suspended.

The IRFU last week announced pay deferrals of between 10 and 50% for all of its employees, including players, with the highest earners taking the biggest temporary hit as the union uses an “equitable sliding scale” to make the deferrals.

jack-carty Carty and all Irish rugby players are working from home. Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The union said it hopes that employees will return to full pay as soon as possible, while also vowing to repay any deferrals when rugby is back up and running again.

Players and staff from the four Irish provinces and the national team are working from home at present, with the players now in an eight-week ‘stand down’ period before the IRFU hopes to see them return to collective training on 18 May.

For now, there is no certainty on that provisional date but Carty believes the IRFU have done the fairest thing possible in opting for pay deferrals.

“I suppose the IRFU have done it in the most equitable way at the moment,” said Carty yesterday. “All employers, especially the IRFU, are trying to do as best they can.

“In the IRFU’s case, there are obviously no games at the moment so they have no cash flow coming in. It was only right that there was going to be some sort of pay deferral occurring.

“The IRFU are looking after their staff really well and the fact that they went for this option rather than job cuts is commendable because it could have been something that they looked at. They decided against it and went for this sort of model.”

While Carty’s Connacht contract runs through until the summer of 2021, some of his team-mates and other players around the country had not yet secured new deals for next season before the current crisis hit.

As such, it’s an even more worrying time for those players.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty,” said Carty. “Some fellas are fortunate that they got their contracts sorted nice and early. Then there’s other fellas who are still in negotiations at the moment, which is something that’s probably causing a lot of stress, especially for people with kids and families.

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jack-carty Jack Carty is an ambassador for Tackle Your Feelings. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

“The current situation that we are in, it probably isn’t something that’s going to be sorted for a couple of weeks.

“What I do know is that in Connacht, the dialogue has been ongoing with players. Connacht have been really proactive in terms of keeping lines of communication [open].

“I know our leadership group have a Zoom call every week just to see how we’re going, checking in on different players and stuff like that. It’s kind of where we are in the current climate. You’d hope that once all this is done that everything can be sorted.”

Carty stressed that “rugby is obviously a tiny little cog in everything that’s going on at the moment” when asked about the possibility of the 2019/20 season being finished.

Carty and co. will train from home in the coming weeks, with the out-half and his housemate, Jonny Murphy, the Connacht hooker, having hastily put together a home gym as the province set about breaking up from their base at the Sportsground in Galway.

Carty and Murphy have been using dumbbells, a barbell, and an Assault bike on the patch of artificial grass out the back of their house. The out-half also has a small net that he can practice his kicking into.

When Carty and his team-mates get to play rugby again is unclear for now.

“Whether or not our season finishes remains to be seen,” said Carty.

“The season being finished isn’t at the forefront of our minds. There are people with family members who are high risk and it’s just about managing the current situation as best we can and having as few people getting sick and dying as possible.”

Tackle Your Feelings ambassador Jack Carty is encouraging people to be supportive and avoid trolling or scaremongering when using social media, especially now following the outbreak of the global pandemic, Covid-19. Jack is lending his support to the #ImTakingControl campaign which encourages people to ‘Take Control’ of their mental wellbeing using principles from both sport and positive psychology.

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Murray Kinsella

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