England coach Jones takes pay cut amid coronavirus crisis

AFP
Train on - England coach Eddie Jones (AFP Photo/Adrian DENNIS)
Train on - England coach Eddie Jones (AFP Photo/Adrian DENNIS)

Twickenham (United Kingdom) (AFP) - England coach Eddie Jones is to join other top officials at Twickenham in taking a pay cut of more than 25 percent for up to three months as the Rugby Football Union tightens its belt in response to the coronavirus epidemic.

Jones is the highest paid coach in international rugby union, earning a reported £750,000 ($912,522) per year.

The 60-year-old Australian took England to last year's World Cup final in Japan, where they lost to South Africa.

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His current deal expires next year and it remains to be seen if the RFU will extend the former Wallaby and Japan boss's contract to run through to the next World Cup, in France in 2023.

The RFU, the governing body for the game in England, announced Wednesday it expects to lose up to £50 million ($59 million) over the next 18 months as a result of the economic crisis triggered by having to suspend the game as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.

The RFU said then its executive board would take cuts of more than 25 percent and Thursday saw it confirm that Jones was following suit.

"Eddie Jones alongside the RFU executive team will be taking a cut in remuneration in excess of 25 percent," said a RFU spokeswoman.

RFU chief executive Bill Sweeney added: "Eddie is overseas at present and when I contacted him regarding our executive pay reduction proposals he immediately agreed (to take a pay cut)."

Even before the global pandemic, the RFU were expecting to make losses in 2020 as a result of the cost of last year's World Cup and the fact that Twickenham -- their major cash generator -- was only staging two Six Nations games in a season where there were no November internationals because of Japan 2019.

But the impact of the coronavirus has added to those financial problems.

Twickenham chiefs have put together a £7million deal to provide support for clubs in England below the second-tier Championship.

Meanwhile, several Premiership clubs have agreed 25 percent wage cuts with players.

This has met with some opposition but a statement from the Rugby Players' Association issued Thursday said their members "fully accept the extraordinary circumstances the world has been plunged into through the out-break of COVID-19" and understood the "necessity behind contractual variations to get through these incredibly challenging times".

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