The Lions warn of a possibility of cost-cutting as the coronavirus threatens revenue

26 March 2020 - 14:33 By Liam Del Carme
Emirates Lions CEO Rudolf Straeuli (L) with former head coach Swys de Bruin during the SuperSport Rugby Challenge match in Durban.
Emirates Lions CEO Rudolf Straeuli (L) with former head coach Swys de Bruin during the SuperSport Rugby Challenge match in Durban.
Image: Steve Haag/Gallo Images

While assuring ‘no stone will be left unturned to ensure the wellbeing of the franchise’s employees and families’ during the impending 21-day lockdown‚ Lions chief executive Rudolf Straeuli said cost-cutting may be a reality further down the line.

He told the players who are already exercising social distancing via email that their salaries will be paid as per normal at the end of March but due to the change in competition structures‚ all leave is subject to change and will remain in line with the collective agreement.

Super Rugby was halted to help curb the spread of Covid-19 and will not be played for the foreseeable future.

Straeuli said he expected the players to stay fit‚ avail themselves for team meetings via an App‚ and that they remain in constant communication with their medical personnel.

He also reminded them to remain aligned and respect the rights of the sponsors on social media and or other streams.

The staff at the Lions will be required to take annual leave for 11 days of the lockdown period.

“I have a scheduled teleconference next week Friday with SA Rugby and am in constant communication with all stakeholders‚” said Straeuli in a statement.

“We currently face unchartered waters in the South African sport industry‚ therefore pending clarity from SA Rugby/Government on competition structures and timelines more information will be circulated.

"Going forward on review of the possible impact on revenue streams a risk assessment by the relative board of directors may lead to further cost-cutting.”

The Lions went through an exhaustive cost-cutting process after they parted ways with former equity partners Guma Tac in 2012 and 2013.

The franchise stabilised as sponsors returned but Covid-19 has brought them back to a point where they have to weigh up all their options.

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