WALES' leading players will take a 25 per cent pay cut because of the financial impact of the coronavirus crisis.

The Professional Rugby Board, representing the Welsh Rugby Union and the four regions – the Dragons, Cardiff Blues, the Ospreys and Scarlets - came to an agreement with the Welsh Rugby Players' Association.

It means the four teams will make what has been termed a "vital" cost saving as they tackle the financial hit from the pandemic, which has led to an indefinite suspension of the PRO14 last month.

Any player earning £25,000 or less per year will not be subject to a pay cut while each of the regions have also applied percentage reductions across all full-time staff.

Western Telegraph:

"Our two guiding principles have been to safeguard the five professional entities in Welsh rugby and to act as fairly and consistently as possible," said PRB's independent chair Amanda Blanc.

"Rugby is a team sport and it is gratifying to note that all parties from players to senior coaches and executive staff agreed to terms which will help us safeguard the future of our game.

"For our professional players in particular this has been a really tough decision, they are at the very sharp end of our business, but they are also our biggest cost.

"But they are in the midst of short careers, many in the prime of those careers and we are asking them to make a financial sacrifice that they won't have planned for.

"We explored a range of options, including deferment of pay, but have agreed on a reduction once all the relevant information and scenarios were considered.

"They have accepted that this is being done out of necessity, because we want to be in position to immediately resume when current circumstances subside.

"We are extremely grateful to the WRPA and its members for their exemplary attitude during our recent conversations and are delighted to see our players continue to be an inspiration to us all.

"Clearly, with no sport taking place, income across the whole of Welsh rugby has dropped significantly and it is not clear when this might change.

"Not to act now would be negligent, given our shared goal is for Welsh rugby to remain intact when we emerge from this period.

"To do that we must reduce costs and preserve cash so that we can continue to operate. Having made operational savings across the businesses, this is the next unavoidable step.

"The PRB has met a number of times to evaluate the situation and the process has been a collaborative one, with all parties determining that a consistent solution was required."

Western Telegraph:

Chief executive of the WRPA Barry said that the measures were necessary in "extraordinary times".

"All options were explored along this journey, and these discussions took place against a backdrop of other sports working their way through the same issues," he said.

"We have a broad membership with players at different points in their careers and throughout we have looked to come to a solution that worked across the board.

"The players are well aware that sacrifices are being made across the country and are keen to do their bit so that rugby will be ready to go when this crisis passes.

"In a sign of solidarity for all our rugby colleagues all WRPA staff will also be taking the same pay cut."