Scottish Rugby update – COVID-19

Scottish Rugby update – COVID-19

We are all now aware of the challenges rugby is facing as a result of Coronavirus both at home and abroad.

Our clubs are the bedrock of our sport and that is why one of our first actions was to introduce both the Club Hardship Fund and bring forward the Club Support payments into April to provide the reassurance of improved cash flow and wider financial support.

We will continue do what we can to support all clubs through these unprecedented times.

I can share with you the overall situation that Scottish Rugby faces now that the sport is closed down by Coronavirus restrictions nationally and internationally.

Our income streams are being badly affected as match day receipts and other revenues from the likes of PRO14 and EPCR fixtures and activity that might otherwise be taking place at BT Murrayfield are interrupted.

Like many we hope the professional game season can be completed, but have no guarantee that even a truncated end to any of the competitions will happen.

As it now stands it would appear very unlikely the annual Summer Tours to the Southern Hemisphere will take place. This has a further impact on our income.

There is also developing uncertainty on when Scottish Rugby might be able to put Autumn Test tickets on sale, and indeed if these games will go ahead as originally planned. We are due to play Argentina, Japan and New Zealand in November.

The significant ticket revenue from these games would normally come into Scottish Rugby during the summer. With wider social uncertainty we also don’t want to place a burden on our supporters at this time, given the challenging circumstances everyone finds themselves in.

If the Autumn Tests were to be cancelled, then we face a further loss of expected revenue well in excess of £12 million. We have to assume that any league or tournament rugby would also then be unable to take place for a period, exacerbating the loss of income.

To prepare ourselves for those potential financial scenarios the following decisions have been made by the Board:

  • We have as a Board agreed to cut our fees by 25% until at least 1 September 2020.
  • I have volunteered to cut my salary by 30% until at least 1st September 2020 and this has been accepted by the Board.
  • Executive Directors have also volunteered to cut their salaries by 25% until at least 1st September 2020 and this has been accepted by the Board.
  • Myself and my fellow Executive Directors have additionally volunteered to waive annual bonus entitlements for the financial year 2019/2020
  • We are taking forward proposals to furlough a proportion of our staff in line with the Government scheme and aligned with other companies across the UK.
  • Scottish Rugby will consult with all players and identified staff on a salary reduction programme focused on our higher earning employees and players.

NB – around 75% of all Scottish Rugby’s staff will be unaffected by these changes and have their salaries maintained.

I am proud to lead an organisation which employs more than 450 people, of whom 157 are contracted professional male and female players.

Our players and our coaches cannot fulfil any fixtures and the money we normally expect to make from the professional and international game at this time of the year, and over the summer, has all but disappeared due to the challenges beyond our control.

No one knows with any certainty when any rugby can resume.

We have seen many, many examples of our staff, clubs and players across the country supporting their local communities and demonstrating rugby’s values in daily life.

Rugby makes a positive contribution to society and it is this positivity and our whole sport working collectively that will give us the best opportunity to come through this crisis, safely, together.

With best wishes and please stay safe and healthy.

Mark Dodson

Scottish Rugby Chief Executive

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