Real Madrid, Welsh rugby and county cricket all take action to protect finances

Real Madrid’s players and coaching staff, Wales’ top rugby union stars and county cricketers have all agreed to financial concessions during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Madrid’s players and coaches will sacrifice 10 to 20 per cent to help avoid “traumatic measures” for the rest of the club’s non-footballing staff, while the basketball club are also reducing their salary.

Welsh rugby players earning £25,000 per year are set for a 25 per cent pay cut for the next three months from April 1, while domestic cricketers will take “maximum reductions” in their salaries and have agreed to be furloughed if asked by their counties.

Meanwhile, Tottenham boss Jose Mourinho admitted he was in the wrong for holding a training session with Tanguy Ndombele in a public park.

Mourinho was pictured on social media flaunting government rules by meeting up with the midfielder on Hadley Common on Tuesday, even though they kept to social distancing guidelines.

Fellow Spurs players Davinson Sanchez and Ryan Sessegnon were spotted running side by side in a separate session, while Serge Aurier filmed himself on Instagram running alongside a friend.

“I accept that my actions were not in line with government protocol and we must only have contact with members of our own household,” he said.

“It is vital we all play our part and follow government advice in order to support our heroes in the NHS and save lives.”

While Mourinho accepts he was in the wrong by holding the session, it was an isolated incident, with group sessions taking place online.

But it is the latest bad news story for Spurs, who have attracted widespread criticism for their decision to furlough non-playing staff last week.

Financial matters across a wide range of sports continue to dominate the agenda, with Madrid seeking to reduce their outgoings.

They said in a statement: “The players and coaches of the football and basketball first teams of Real Madrid, led by their captains, together with the main directors of the different departments of the club have agreed to voluntarily reduce their remuneration for this year by between 10 per cent and 20 per cent, depending on the circumstances that may affect the closing of the current 2019/20 sports season.”

In Wales, the Professional Rugby Board (PRB), representing the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) and the four regional teams – Cardiff Blues, Dragons, Ospreys and Scarlets – came to an agreement with the Welsh Rugby Players’ Association (WRPA).

It means the four teams will make what has been termed a “vital” cost saving as they tackle the financial impact of coronavirus, with the outbreak of the pandemic leading to an indefinite suspension of the PRO14 last month.

As well as salary reductions for county professionals in April and May, the Professional Cricketers’ Association announced players will relinquish £1million in prize money this year.

The County Championship was scheduled to start this weekend but the domestic season has been postponed until at least May 28 – and there is the expectations of further delays.

A collective player agreement has therefore been thrashed out between the Professional Cricketers’ Association, the England and Wales Cricket Board and the 18 first-class counties in a bid to protect the domestic game.

Rangers are railing against the SPFL’s plans to curtail the Championship, League One and League Two seasons, warning of “severe consequences for the Scottish game” and labelling plans to relegate clubs “abhorrent”.

SPFL chairman Murdoch MacLennan believes the measures enable “the best possible outcome for Scottish football in these very demanding and unique circumstances” – something Rangers robustly contest.

Steven Gerrard’s second-placed side are 13 points behind Celtic and “firmly believe that the 2019/20 season is only complete when all 38 games have been played to a finish”, while they say this SPFL resolution cannot be accepted.

The World Athletics Championships have been rescheduled for July 14-24 in 2022, narrowly avoiding a clash with the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham.

Oregon was originally scheduled to host the World Championships in August next year, but they have been moved due to the postponement of the Tokyo Olympics.

The Commonwealth Games are scheduled to start on July 27, just three days after the World Athletics Championships will conclude.

The World Athletics Council said the date had been agreed after consultations with Birmingham 2022 organisers, and will “prevent a direct conflict between any of these major events”.

British Cycling has announced it will place one third of its staff on furlough in a bid to combat the financial implications of the coronavirus crisis.

In addition, members of the governing body’s leadership team will be subject to a 10 per cent pay cut for at least the next two months.

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