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The National Rugby League (NRL) of Australia could cut players’ salaries by more than 100 million Australian dollars (about 72.8 million U.S. dollars) over the next two years due to the financial blow caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, The Australian revealed on Sunday night.

The NRL had informed the players union that COVID-19 would cost them at least 400 million Australian dollars (291.1 million U.S. dollars) in 2021 and 2022.

NRL players are entitled to 29.5 percent of the game’s total revenue pool, according to the collective bargaining agreement. However, as the league suffers from COVID-19, players could be forced to share the financial pain.

The NRL had offered the players a 10 percent pay cut for each season. But after enduring a 20 percent pay cut to restart the competition this year, players insisted the reduction should be no more than five percent.

With the grand final only weeks away, Australian Rugby League Commission chair Peter V’landys remained confident that an agreement will be reached in time despite the haggling.

“It is not just the revenues of the NRL (that have dropped), it is the revenues of the clubs. They are doing it a bit tougher than we first thought,” V’landys said.

“There is a collective bargaining agreement there anyway. It says they get a certain percentage of revenue. If we did that, they would be getting a lot less than what the offer is.”

Not only relying on players, the NRL is also doing its own part to cut costs, with details set to be announced at the end of the month.

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