| 9.5°C Belfast

Ulster Rugby stars and staff to accept pay deferral to help save game



Ulster Kingspan Stadium

Ulster Kingspan Stadium

©INPHO/Tommy Dickson

Ulster Kingspan Stadium

Ulster's players and staff will take a pay deferral deal in order to help protect the province from the financially crippling effects of the sporting shutdown.

The move, which will be mirrored throughout the IRFU, Leinster, Munster and Connacht, will see wages deferred by between 10% and 50%.

The outbreak of Covid-19 means that Ulster have not played since February 22 with the PRO14 suspended indefinitely and their Champions Cup quarter-final against Toulouse in April is also postponed.

Clubs the world over are feeling the pinch of losing out on their match day revenue, while the global effects of the pandemic on the economy is sure to hit future sponsorship too.

In Ireland, the problems have been exacerbated by the game's governing body, the IRFU, having to wait on expected cash from the postponement of the visit of Italy in the Six Nations as well as further prize money from the tournament.

Rugby Players Ireland CEO Simon Keogh said that members appreciated these measures were required to safeguard the very future of the game in Ireland.

"We recognise the need to work with the IRFU with respect to these payment deferrals in light of the current circumstances. All endeavours have been made to contact those affected on an individual basis. Our members appreciate that such moves are necessary in order to protect the future of the game in this country," he said.

"The health and safety of the public is the priority. We will continue to work with the IRFU as this situation develops."

The IRFU have said they hope to return to full pay and repay the deferrals as soon as possible.

Elsewhere, the U20s World Championship, scheduled for Italy in June, has been cancelled.

Belfast Telegraph