Wales’ leading rugby players are in talks about the possibility of further pay cuts as the Welsh Rugby Union continues to count the cost of the coronavirus pandemic.
With no rugby played in Wales since March, the WRU could lose £50m if it does not host international matches for the rest of this year.
In April, players agreed a 25% pay cut lasting for three months until 30 June.
There is now a prospect of longer-term salary reductions.
Discussions are ongoing between the Welsh Rugby Players’ Association (WRPA) and the Professional Rugby Board (PRB), representing the WRU and the four regions – Cardiff Blues, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets.
The PRB praised players and the WRPA for their “exemplary attitude” as they took the “unavoidable step” of pay cuts in April.
As what WRU chairman Gareth Davies has described as the “catastrophic” financial implications of coronavirus become clearer, there is a possibility those reductions could be extended.
No percentage figure or length of time has yet been decided as the unions and governing bodies engage in sensitive and complex discussions.
As a trade union, the WRPA aims to negotiate a collective bargaining agreement with the PRB, which acts on behalf of the WRU and the regions.
That would mean that players consent collectively to whatever agreement is reached, with the aim of avoiding a pay cut which would amount to a breach of contract.
Under a banding system introduced last year, the WRU pays 80% of the salaries of the 38 top-ranked players in Wales, with the players’ regions contributing the remaining 20%.
Salaries for players outside that top tier are paid for entirely by the regions.