The Australian Rugby Union (ARU) has reduced its match payments to the Wallabies as part of its cost-cutting measures.
Match payments will be cut from $13,100 to $10,000 per Test, as part of the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) reached between the ARU, its five Super Rugby franchises and the Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA).
The new CBA, which will be in effect from 2014 to 2017, is set to save the ARU 12 per cent of its player costs.
It also includes a salary cap of $5 million for the Super Rugby franchises.
Minimum salries will increase more than 15 per cent over the period of the agreement, and players’ share in gross player revenue will increase from 26 to 29 per cent.
ARU chief executive Bill Pulver says the reduction in match payments will help ease some of the financial burden on his cash-strapped organisation, which earlier this year announced a deficit of $8.3 million.
He says he was heartened by the response of the players during the negotiation process.
“We are being completely transparent in terms of what is happening inside the Australian Rugby Union, so they get the fact that we have some work to do and they are pulling their weight,” Pulver said.
Wallabies captain James Horwill, who is also a RUPA board director, says he and his team-mates acknowledge there is a need for a cut in match payments so as to improve the code’s financial health.
“As players, we really hope that some of the new structures and strategies in the new CBA can really re-establish and strengthen rugby in Australia,” he said in a statement.
RUPA chief executive Greg Harris commended the cooperation of the players.
“The players have made significant concessions in this deal to ensure that rugby will be a stronger game for those who follow in their footsteps,” he said.
“The significant contribution the players make to the game has been recognised by formalising an increase in the player’s share of revenue and by increasing the minimum salaries paid to players over the period of the agreement.”
The new CBA replaces the existing agreement, which was reached in late 2004.