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Coronavirus Sport's continued attempt at dealing with Covid-19

A NEW task force set up to reschedule the Tokyo Olympics met for the first time today, while some governing bodies and clubs have taken measures to curb the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

An “unprecedented challenge” awaits the task force, according to the president of the local organising committee, with the Games now definitely not taking place in 2020.

The aim is to find a suitable date no later than the summer of 2021, two days after International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach agreed to postpone the Games that were due to take place this summer.

“From now we take on an unprecedented challenge,” Tokyo 2020 organising committee president Yoshiro Mori told the 30-strong group, in quotes reported by the Kyodo news agency.

England head coach Eddie Jones will be asked to emulate the Rugby Football Union’s and League’s executive team by taking a pay cut in excess of 25 per cent.

The RFU is facing revenue losses in the region of £45-50 million over the next 18 months as a result of the disruption to income streams caused by Covid-19.

Discussions are being held with Jones and his coaching assistants over a reduction in salary. The England head coach is the highest paid coach in international rugby, earning in the region of £750,000 per year.

In rugby league, some clubs have already reduced the wages of staff and players as they brace themselves for a lengthy period of inactivity.

Wigan and England prop George Burgess told an Australian television show that some of the higher-earning Super League players could be facing pay cuts of up to 75 per cent and Toronto Wolfpack’s former All Black Sonny Bill Williams says he would support such a move.

“100 per cent I’d be that way inclined,” Williams said.

Newcastle Falcons, meanwhile, have placed all players and staff on furlough due to the outbreak of the virus.

It is understood bosses at the Kingston Park club have written to employees to explain the move, asking for formal consent from all staff.

In football, Leeds’ players, management and senior staff have volunteered to defer their wages for the foreseeable future.

The Championship leaders — seven points clear of third with nine games to play when the season was halted by the coronavirus pandemic — say they have made the move so that all non-football staff can be paid during the sport’s shutdown.

Director of football Victor Orta said that his players and head coach Marcelo Bielsa had “demonstrated an incredible sense of unity and togetherness” in making the offer, at a time when the club is losing “several millions of pounds a month.”

In a statement entitled “Side Before Self, Every Time,” Leeds’ first-team squad said: “Leeds United is a family, this is the culture that has been created by everyone at the club, from the players and the board to the staff and the supporters in the stands.

“We face uncertain times and therefore it is important that we all work together to find a way that the club can push through this period and end the season in the way we all hope we can. In the meantime, let’s work as one to listen to the government advice and the health service and beat this virus.”

A meeting between the Premier League, the English Football League and the Professional Footballers Association (PFA) to discuss the financial impact of the pandemic will take place tomorrow.

On Wednesday afternoon the PFA called for an urgent meeting around some of the drastic measures being proposed or considered by clubs in relation to player wages.

It is understood even at Premier League level clubs are considering measures to temporarily defer wages.


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