Eels slash costs during NRL virus shutdown

Coach Brad Arthur is among the few Parramatta staff still working during the NRL shutdown.
Coach Brad Arthur is among the few Parramatta staff still working during the NRL shutdown.

Parramatta have stood down the majority of their club staff and slashed payroll costs by 75 per cent in response to the NRL season's indefinite suspension due to coronavirus.

In a letter to members on Monday morning, Eels chairman Sean McElduff revealed the 73-year-old club has made drastic cuts and is poised to change its cost structure for more than 60 employees when the competition resumes.

He implored the rugby league community to band together to keep the game alive, rather than point the finger of blame at past decisions.

Head coach Brad Arthur has been placed on annual leave and is deferring his long service leave entitlement, but has offered to keep working to ensure players are as prepared as possible for a return.

Arthur is among the few still working as the club runs on skeleton staff, all of whom have had their hours reduced or have had their salary halved.

Executives had already offered a "large salary reduction".

McElduff said his main priority was to ensure the survival of the Eels over the next few months as rugby league faces the most financially challenging period in its history.

"I don't need to explain to you that the COVID-19 virus has had a significant impact on the game of rugby league," he said.

"During the last few weeks, a lot of the public commentary around the game has been centred on examining past decisions and history.

"This is a natural response but as some of our fellow clubs have stated, the economic impact of the COVID-19 virus has been devastating for nearly every sport both here and around the world.

"We want everyone in our industry to focus on the challenge ahead of us, as we are the custodians of both the game and the clubs that millions of Australians support and love.

"There will be ample time to reflect on what caused the problem but the priority is getting through to the other side together."

Parramatta has also made available well-being services to support players and staff during the NRL's hiatus.

Australian Associated Press