World Rugby has set up a $100million relief fund to aid unions struggling financially during the coronavirus pandemic.
The absence of any rugby union games because of the spread of COVID-19 has already had a huge impact, with USA Rugby filing for bankruptcy last month.
Rugby Australia (RA) stood down 75 per cent of its workforce for three months in March, shortly after it had revealed a provisional deficit of 9.4 million Australian dollars in 2019.
RA is discussing pay cuts for players while New Zealand Rugby has agreed a 50 per cent pay freeze with players for the remainder of 2020.
World Rugby has now pledged funds to unions across the globe, available until the action resumes, to combat what it says is rugby union’s “greatest challenge”.
A statement said: “The relief fund will available for unions requiring immediate emergency funding subject to appropriate criteria being met.
“It is designed to assist the maximum number of unions for the maximum amount of time while there is a rugby void.
“For Six Nations and SANZAAR unions, the financial package will involve a combination of advances and loans, while World Rugby is also committed to supporting emerging nations and regional associations where required.”
The game’s governing body also revealed discussions are ongoing over a potential return date, with a “likely short-term reshaping of the international rugby calendar”.
Four matches in the 2020 Six Nations were postponed when the crisis first hit Europe.
KEO.co.za News wire is powered by opta