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Manu players take pay cuts to help club stay afloat in COVID-19

Manu Samoa players, Motu Matu’u, TJ Ioane and Belgium Tuatagaloa are all taking 25 percent pay cuts to help London Irish survive COVID-19.

Fellow English Premiership Rugby clubs Saracens, Wasps, Worcester and Gloucester already made the move to dock their players’ salaries last month, and The Mirror’s Alex Spink reported London Irish would be doing the same on Wednesday.

“Last season cost me £4million and I can’t afford that,” club owner Mick Crossan told Spink.

“Club rugby has to change. We can’t keep relying on rich benefactors. It’s definitely not a sustainable business. Everyone’s suffering.”

Irish’s backroom staff have been placed on the United Kingdom Government’s furlough scheme, through which the state is paying 80% of their monthly salaries up to a maximum of 8,594 tala.

According to the Irish Independent’s 2019 Rich List, Crossan was worth over 180 million tala as of January 20th 2019.

Then the 237th richest person in Ireland, Crossan said COVID-19 and the massive impact it has had on revenue in professional rugby could indeed be a blessing in disguise:

“This crisis may actually be a saving grace for club rugby, in the respect that everyone will hopefully now cut their cloth to suit their pockets.

“I honestly think it will do club rugby good by bringing common sense back to the clubs and the finances of what players are being offered.”

“For a lot of things in the world, including rugby, this crisis is maybe the kick up the backside people needed,” he added.

Pacific Rugby Player’s Welfare chief executive officer Daniel Leo has said the 25 percent pay cut is roughly the amount players from the islands would normally be sending home to their families under normal circumstances.

According to the World Bank, remittances from overseas made up 18.4% of Samoa’s GDP in 2019.

In Tonga that value was over 38.5%, and it is estimated that almost half of that comes from professional rugby players around the world.

Mick Crossan also wants the Premiership to no longer have promotion from and relegation to the second-tier championship for the, something he said is vital for the sustainability of the game.

London Irish have been either promoted from the Championship or relegated from the Premiership after each of the last five seasons.

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