Northampton: Players and staff agree 10% wage cut for next 12 months

By Chris JonesBBC rugby union correspondent
Lewis Ludlam in training for Northampton Saints
Northampton's players are back in training before the planned resumption of the 2019-20 season

Northampton Saints' players and staff have agreed to a 12-month salary reduction as a result of the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The cuts, thought to be about 10% across the board, replace the temporary 25% reduction in place since 1 April.

The new terms were factored into 19 player deals announced on Tuesday.

Chief executive Mark Darbon said the club were "incredibly grateful" to all employees for "recognising the gravity" of the situation.

He continued: "This was not a decision that was taken lightly, but a necessary temporary change given the need to continue to reduce our cost base and preserve the financial sustainability of the club."

"We have a wonderful, close-knit environment at Saints, and I am incredibly proud of the excellent work our staff and players continue to produce during one of the most challenging times we have faced in our history."

No Premiership rugby has been played since March because of the coronavirus pandemic, but it is hoped games can resume in August.

Northampton and England back row Lewis Ludlam told BBC Look East: "All through lockdown the club have kept us updated on Zoom, they've shown us the books and the position the club is in and have been really open. It's helped players get their heads round why these cuts are happening.

"Yes, there probably is a right to be frustrated but at the end of the day, the players want a club to go back to after this is all over. So, for us to take these cuts and hopefully allow the club to survive will allow us to be rewarded in the future."

Saints staff paid under a £20,000 threshold were exempt from the initial 25% reduction, and will also be protected from the latest measures.

"While we are very confident that we can weather this storm and emerge stronger as a result, we must unfortunately continue to make tough choices in order to protect the club for the foreseeable future," Darbon added.

"The decision involved open collaboration with our senior player group and the Rugby Players Association representatives, who have been helpful throughout.

"Despite these extraordinary times, everyone at the club is working harder than ever to ensure we can return to playing the game we love as soon as possible."

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