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Coronavirus latest: IRFU agree payment deferral model with provinces

Domestic rugby in Ireland was suspended on March 12.

The Irish Rugby Football Union (IRFU) and Ireland's four provinces have agreed a payment deferral model for all employees due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Domestic rugby in Ireland was suspended on March 12 in response to government advice on the spread of Covid-19, while the national team were unable to complete their Guinness Six Nations campaign.

Pay deferrals, which range from 10 to 50 per cent, will be effective from April and remain subject to constant review of the financial circumstances of the IRFU and the provinces, Connacht, Leinster, Munster and Ulster.

The IRFU hopes to return to full pay, and repay any deferrals, as soon as possible.

IRFU CEO Philip Browne said in a statement: "We are entering uncharted waters as the Covid-19 crisis continues to unfold but we remain hopeful that something of this season can be retrieved later in summer.

"This is important as the whole game, amateur and professional, is financially dependent on the resumption of the professional tournaments and the revenues that they generate.

"With postponement of these tournaments the IRFU and the provinces are facing some daunting financial challenges around loss of revenue and cash flow and we must cut our costs."

Ireland, coached by Andy Farrell, had their Six Nations games against Italy and France postponed
Ireland, coached by Andy Farrell, had their Six Nations games against Italy and France postponed (Adam Davy/PA)

The payment deferral model was agreed in partnership with Rugby Players Ireland (RPI), the country's representative body for professional rugby players.

RPI CEO Simon Keogh said: "We recognise the need to work with the IRFU with respect to these payment deferrals in light of the current circumstances.

"All endeavours have been made to contact those affected on an individual basis. Our members appreciate that such moves are necessary in order to protect the future of the game in this country.

"The health and safety of the public is the priority at this time. We will continue to work with the IRFU as this situation develops."

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