Rugby Australia hails ‘good progress’ in player pay talks

SYDNEY (AP) — Rugby Australia said it has made “good progress” in negotiations with players representatives over possible pay cuts, saying talks which began yesterday were “positive and robust”.

Talks between Rugby Australia and the Rugby Union Players’ Association were able to begin after the governing body provided the players’ organisation on Saturday with documents outlining its current financial position.

“Representatives of Rugby Australia and the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) met again today and made good progress in the process of negotiating an emergency and interim pay deal in response to the global COVID-19 crisis,” Rugby Australia Chief Executive Raelene Castle and Chairman Paul McLean said in a joint statement. “Talks were positive and robust, with both parties agreeing to continue to move negotiations forward with ongoing discussions scheduled for this week. Rugby Australia remains focussed on securing a fair and reasonable deal with the players that will help protect the long-term future of our game.”

The statement highlighted World Rugby’s pledge to assist national unions which are in financial difficulty and thanked the players’ association for recognising its players have to accept some short-term financial constraints.

“The players understand that the burden must be shared by everyone in our game and we will look to reach an agreement which is fair and reasonable given the extraordinary circumstances we are in,” it said.

File photo shows Australian rugby players in action. PHOTO: XINHUA