Michael Hooper is set to lose $70,000 a month. Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty Images
Michael Hooper is set to lose $70,000 a month. Picture: Dan Mullan/Getty Images

New deal delivers hit to Wallabies captain’s pay packet

Wallabies skipper Michael Hooper stands to lose around $70,000 a month under the terms of the drawn out pay cut agreement between Rugby Australia and the Rugby Union Players' Association.

Expected to be ratified this week, possibly as early as Monday, Australia's 192 professional players will receive an average salary reduction of 60 per cent over the next six months, according to the final proposal, which The Daily Telegraph has seen.

That will wipe $9.5 million off the players' total payments through to September with the biggest stars taking the heaviest hits to save the game from going broke.

 

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Hooper, Australia's highest paid player, will have to give up more than two-thirds of his monthly salary, but will still receive just over $34,000 a month, including payments under the Job Keeper scheme.

All players making $95,000 or less a year, will receive the monthly Job Keeper payment of $3,250 - which amounts to a maximum cut of 40 per cent.

Players earning above that figure will receive a combined payment from Job Keeper and RA, with the size of the cut increasing the more the player makes. All players making more than $300,000 a season will lose at least 65 per cent of their income, until September 30.

Once the deal is signed, RA can apply to World Rugby for a cash loan of up to $15 million to help it through the COVID-19 crisis.

 

Raelene Castle is under pressure to keep her role. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images
Raelene Castle is under pressure to keep her role. Picture: Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

 

As previously revealed by The Daily Telegraph, RA intends to ask for every cent it can get and will lodge the paperwork as soon as the player pay cut agreement, which has been dragging on for almost four weeks, is resolved.

RUPA has been openly critical of RA's reluctance to disclose the full nature of its financial woes so has pushed hard to lock in key clauses to protect players.

This includes RA providing RUPA with monthly updates of its financial position and allowing RUPA to be involved in any talks regarding the restructuring of SANZAAR competitions and any tournaments in Australia.

In addition, if the current travel and social distancing restrictions are lifted before then and matches resume, the pay cut arrangements will be reviewed.

And if RA runs out of money and goes into voluntary administration or receivership, the agreement on cuts will be immediately terminated with players to receive their full contract payouts.

The Wallabies’ elite will take a big pay hit. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt
The Wallabies’ elite will take a big pay hit. Picture: AAP Image/Dave Hunt

Furthermore, players will be allowed to undertake additional employment to support their families during the lockdown including signing short-term overseas contracts from 2021 through to the next World Cup in 2023, as long as they meet certain requirements.

Further talks will also take place about the future of Australia's Sevens players.

Australia's men's and women's were contracted through to August, when the 2020 Tokyo Olympics were originally due to be completed.

But the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics until 2021 has forced a rethink.

It is understood that players will be funded for another year but how that looks beyond then remains uncertain and could be determined by how the teams perform at the Olympics.

Australia's women won the gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics and were second on the current world rankings before the series was halted. Australia's men's team are fourth.

Originally published as New deal delivers incredible hit to Wallaby captain's pay packet


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