Scottish Rugby to announce 'sweeping pay cuts' with chief Mark Dodson set for 30% reduction and 75% of staff furloughed

The organisation have taken the action due to "increasing unpredictability"
Scottish Rugby chief executive will take a 30 per cent wage cut. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS Group/SRUScottish Rugby chief executive will take a 30 per cent wage cut. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS Group/SRU
Scottish Rugby chief executive will take a 30 per cent wage cut. Picture: Gary Hutchison/SNS Group/SRU

SRU chief executive Mark Dodson's controversial 30 per cent wage "deferral" on his £933,000 salary has been changed to a "cut" as the scale of impact the coronavirus crisis is likely to wreak on the sport emerges.

Top-earning executives and players will also take cuts, while three-quarters of the union's staff are to be furloughed.

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Last week the national rugby governing body announced wage "deferrals" for its highest earners, including chief executive Mark Dodson, Scotland boss Gregor Townsend and the head coaches of pro teams Edinburgh and Glasgow Richard Cockerill and outgoing Dave Rennie.

Today, according to a BBC report via what appears to be leaked emails, the union is announcing that "every player in Scotland earning more than £50,000 will be asked to take a salary cut of 10-25 per cent until September, while Dodson's 30 per cent deferral is now being described as a "reduction".

The union is said to have acted due to the "increasing unpredictability" in the game amidst the world Covid-19 pandemic outbreak.

Staff furloughed

Other union executives will take a 25 per cent cut., and a consultation is underway about a sliding scale of cuts beyond that.

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The SRU will also furlough 75 per cent of its 450 staff for the time being, though according to the BBC report, say "they are confident that any employee earning less than £50,000 will be unaffected financially"

There are 157 professionally contracted players on Scottish rugby's books and the suggestion is that any earning over £50,000 will be asked to reduce their wages on a "sliding scale":

Those earning up to £75,000 would lose 10 per cent, those on £75,000-£100,000 would 15 per cent and from £100,000-£200,000 20 per cent and the select few earning above would lose 25 per cent.

"It is because our projected incomes have fallen so sharply, coupled with the increasing unpredictability of any further resumption of any rugby worldwide, that we have to cut costs through this upcoming period," wrote Dodson in an email to staff today.

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"The furloughing of staff and salary reductions for senior people reflect the seriousness of the situation."

Deferrals into cuts

Last month, Dodson announced a range of wage deferrals, which attracted criticism, but those have now been turned into cuts.

In the email, Dodson admitted that Scotland's summer tour to South Africa and New Zealand is "almost certain not to take place".

The BBC reported that SRU board chairman Colin Grassie also said there is "developing uncertainty" that the autumn Tests planned against Japan, New Zealand and Argentina "will go ahead as originally planned".

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Unlike other unions, Scotland were able to stage both their Six Nations Tests, against England and France, this year but the loss of revenue if the November series is wiped out will be significant.

The BBC report said: "Scottish Rugby believes these latest measures will get them through to September without any redundancies being required".