© 2020 Getty ImagesSYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 19: RLPA General Manager of Player and Football Operations Clint Newton speaks to the media during a NRL press conference at Rugby League Central on March 19, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)
NRL players will be asked to take an 87 per cent pay cut to ensure the survival of the sport if the governing body is forced to cancel the entire 2020 season as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Herald has been told that the NRL, working on a worst-case basis without further games this season, has just over $12 million left in player payments to be made before the end of the rugby league financial year on October 31.
The players have already been paid their share of $67 million over the past five months, however the NRL doesn't have the funds to pay out the remaining $93 million the players were expecting over the next seven months.
That works out at roughly $26,000 per player for the next seven months, if the salary cap is shared equally across the 480 players in each of the 16 clubs' top 30 squads.
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The Rugby League Players Association is expected to hold an emergency board meeting on Thursday night to discuss the substantial pay cuts and whether they would be willing to agree to an 80 to 90 per cent reduction. No agreement is in place as yet.
One of the models being discussed is a tiered pay-cut system that will see the highest paid players in the game share in a greater percentage of the financial reduction.
There are also discussions about applying a threshold to ensure players that earn less than a certain figure - mostly development and minimum wage players - don't take pay cuts.
The RLPA is in constant dialogue and haven't agreed to the pay cuts, however it appears the players will also face the reality many people across the nation are now faced with as a result of the global crisis.
The AFL is at loggerhead with its players, who won't budge on the 50 per cent pay-cut they proposed earlier in the week.
The NRL's financial position is far more grim than the AFL, and would need the players to take substantial cuts over the next seven months to ensure the code and the 16 clubs survive.