Super League clubs furlough players, coaches and staff as clubs look to secure futures beyond COVID-19

At least four Super League clubs have furloughed players and staff members.

TotalRL understands all clubs are set to furlough their players, coaches and the majority of their staff in the coming days, while a number of clubs have already sent letters of intent to their employees to put them on furlough during the suspension of the Super League season as clubs attempt to secure their futures due to the repercussions of COVID-19.

There is a belief across the sport that there are three major components to the survival of the rugby league; the arrival of government funding, the game’s main broadcaster, Sky, continuing to provide their financial payments and the length of inactivity forced upon the sport due to the Coronavirus.

Furloughed staff will still receive 80% of their salary to a maximum of £2,500 per month during the layoff, with the government pledging £330 billion to support businesses during a period of inactivity.

Despite that, many employees, namely first-team players, are likely to be hit financially during the layoff, with many established Super League players earning upwards of £75,000 per year, leaving chunks of their monthly salaries unaccounted for during the period of inactivity.

There is a desire across the game to protect all employees and their finances, but that will largely be dictated by the government funding requested by the RFL and the continuation of Sky’s monies.

Super League chief executive Robert Elstone admitted on Wednesday that clubs were considering the prospect of furloughing staff to help avoid financial collapse.

“I think every club is looking very closely at that and what that allows clubs to do to get through this situation,” Elstone said.

“We’ve spent time looking at our staff base and furloughing is an option for a large number of our employees. We’ve got to respect the fact we have to work that through, communicate with our staff and do it professionally and sympathetically.

“I think that principle works across all clubs. It’s an opportunity for clubs in Super League to protect themselves.”

Catalans and Toronto are unable to furlough staff, with the initiative not put in place by French and Canadian governments. The Wolfpack have laid off 12 of their Canadian-based staff.