Rugby Australia cuts one-third of its staff to tackle COVID impact

Rugby Australia has revealed a third of its staff will be made redundant in order to mitigate the financial impact caused by the global health pandemic. 

The departures will be stagnated over the coming months with a total of 47 full-time staff leaving the governing body. In total Monday’s announcement will cut Rugby Australia’s wage bill by an estimated £2.99m (AUS$5.5m).

Rugby Australia interim CEO Rob Clarke stated: “Today was an incredibly difficult day for the organisation with many people affected by changes that are necessary to ensure the viability and sustainability of the organisation as a result of the devastating impacts of the pandemic.

“We have delivered the news to staff this morning and told them that Rugby Australia values the contribution of each and every one of them, some of whom have given significant service to Rugby Australia and to the game over many years.

“This is a difficult time for a lot of very passionate, hard-working rugby people and we are committed to helping those people find their next opportunity, whether it be within the game or elsewhere.”

Rugby Australia has struggled to financially support itself since coronavirus halted all live-sport, with the governing body being loaned $14.2 million by World Rugby this month to secure its financial future.

In addition to the lay-offs, senior staff have also been asked to take a five per cent pay cut, meanwhile, 30 contractors and casual staff have had their contracts terminated with immediate effect.

Since 1 April, Rugby Australia has cut 75 per cent of its staff as the governing body commences its first stage of organisational restructuring. 

Clarke added: “Today we have announced phase one of the restructure of the rugby landscape, and the next phase will focus on the role of Rugby Australia and the member unions to find further opportunities for savings and efficiencies in the way we deliver our rugby programs and administrative operations across each of our businesses.”