7 Apr 2020

Sport: Fiji Rugby cutting costs due to Covid-19 fallout

2:00 pm on 7 April 2020

Fiji Rugby is cutting costs as it attempts to manage the financial fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure its long term sustainability.

Staff, players, coaches and consultants have reduced to three days a week and staff with leave available were required to take it.

CEO John O'Connor said Fiji Rugby must be prepared for the worse and would continue to monitor the financial impact however, if the situation continued to escalate further, drastic reductions might be required.

"With rugby in Fiji and globally coming to a halt, the Fiji Rugby Board has endorsed the implementation of a number of measures to protect the long term operating viability of the union in response to the escalating impact of Covid-19 on the local and global economy," he said.

"All unions globally are facing significant financial challenges and responsible financial decisions have to be made in order to preserve the operating ability and financial integrity of Fiji Rugby long term."

Fiji Rugby Logo

Fiji Rugby Logo Photo: Fiji Rugby

The union will continue to service stakeholders across all departments remotely but the rugby house, in compliance with lockdown regulations, will be closed.

All Fiji rugby gyms would remain closed and all high performance programs had moved to individual fitness programmes for the players to complete at home.

All domestic clubs, schools and provincial competitions would remain suspended until restrictions were uplifted and new kick-off dates were announced.

"We are in extraordinary times with this Covid-19 pandemic. We will continue to monitor the financial impact on our operations and will also continue discussions with World Rugby and our sponsors, however if the situation continues to escalate, further drastic reductions may be required," said O'Connor.

"We hope we will not end up in such situation, but we must keep in mind that businesses are closing, and thousands of employees have lost their jobs."

"We are facing challenging and difficult times and we are grateful to our staff for their understanding and support."

The announcement came after Connor expressed his disappointment over the actions of two professional players who were believed to have returned to Fiji and failed to follow instructions regarding self-isolation.

The players weren't identified, but Connor said Fiji Rugby was taking appropriate disciplinary action.

"We strongly condemn the behaviour of these two players and their disregard for lawful instructions to self-isolate themselves," he said.

"The Fiji Rugby family wants to put on record our great disappointment at the irresponsible behaviour of these two players putting their families and other Fijians at risk. Such irresponsible behaviour is totally unacceptable, and we support the actions of the police in arresting these two players and any further action taken against them."