Australian rugby feels the pinch
October 23, 2013
In a nutshell ...
Australia's Super Rugby teams will operate for the first time under an annual salary cap after the agreement of a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) for the nation's professional Rugby players
The deal, which means the five teams will operate under a cap of $A5 million per season from 2014 to 2017, reflects the awareness that the authorities can no longer continue to maintain the current levels of expenditure against a backdrop of falling revenues and a declining audience.
Match payments for internationals will be reduced from $13,100 in 2013 to $10,000 per Test in 2014 and 2015, as had previously been flagged, but minimum salaries will increase by more than 15%. The agreement also provides for an increase in the players' share of Gross Player Revenue, from 26% to 29%, and for an overall increase in the game's investment to players' education and welfare.
The agreement is the first between the parties to include minimum workplace standards for the Australian men's and women's Sevens squads, while women have been formally recognised for the first time in an employment agreement for Rugby in Australia.
"This deal is arguably the most significant of its kind since rugby turned professional in 1995," explained ARU chief executive Bill Pulver. "The players have acted with integrity and maturity throughout the negotiations, and their support for the game warrants acknowledgement by the Australian rugby community."
RUPA chief executive Greg Harris said the agreement marked the culmination of more than two years of discussions between players and the ARU.
"The player directors on the RUPA board ... Wallabies captain James Horwill, Benn Robinson, Stephen Moore, Matt Hodgson and Adam Wallace-Harrison deserve significant credit for what is a fair and equitable outcome for the players and the game," Harris said. "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.
"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."
Horwill said that Australian rugby was dealing with challenging financial and performance issues, and "we really hope that some of the new structures and strategies in the new CBA can really re-establish and strengthen" the code in Australia.
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