A message of thanks and support to the Rugby Community from Raelene Castle

by Raelene Castle

Important COVID-19 Rugby Update from Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle.

Dear Rugby Community,

I’m writing to you all to provide an update as to the current state of affairs as we manage the ongoing impacts of the COVID-19 global health crisis..

As we know, this is a constantly evolving and unprecedented situation that is impacting our entire community and Rugby is certainly no exception.

We have already had to suspend the Vodafone Super Rugby season, the Buildcorp Super W season, community Rugby and shelve plans for a new five team domestic competition until at least May 1 as we continue to follow the advice of government medical experts.

Like all sports, Rugby has been hit hard by the shutdown and this has forced Rugby Australia and our State and Territory Member Unions to make some extremely difficult decisions to protect the long-term viability of our game.

Put simply, we must reduce costs, because once we get through this, and we will, we need Rugby to be ready to return and bring us all back together on the field and in the stands.

That is why Rugby Australia made the toughest decision in the game’s history which will see at least 75% of its workforce stood down from April 1 through June 30, while remaining staff have been offered significant salary reductions or reduced hours.

We thank Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his announcement of the JobKeeper package and this announcement has certainly allowed these positions to be kept open so that we will have a workforce ready to support the Rugby community when we get the green light from Government to return to normal operations.

I, along with the staff still working, are committed to supporting you all during these challenging times and we are 100% focused on delivering a plan for the game’s survival.

We will continue to look at all measures currently in place and will re-assess these on a monthly basis as the situation evolves.

Rugby Australia and our State and Territory Member Unions have continued to work with State and Territory Governments, and World Rugby, to unlock any further support that may be available for the game.

In terms of the players, we are in ongoing discussions with the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) as we work towards an agreement which is appropriate and responsible given this extraordinary situation.

I want to thank the entire Rugby community for your understanding and support during this difficult time.

Aside from being there to support each other, it is vital that we all pull together.

That is the power of the Rugby community.

Real rugby people looking after each other and chipping in where they can during the tough times.

Rugby will survive, as the game has in this country for more than 100 years.

Please look after your loved ones and I promise to keep you updated as things progress.

Take care,
Raelene