Welsh rugby players' pay slashed by a quarter

Wales' captain Alun Wyn Jones is among the players who will take a 25% cut in salary

Players at Wales' four regions earning more than �25,000 (28,566 euros) will take a 25 percent pay cut until July 1 due to the coronavirus pandemic, Welsh rugby's Professional Rugby Board (PRB) announced on Wednesday.

The season for squad members at the Scarlets, the Ospreys, the Cardiff Blues and the Dragons was put on hold at the end of February following the COVID-19 outbreak.

"For our professional players in particular this has been a really tough decision, they are at the very sharp end of our business, but they are also our biggest cost," PRB's chairperson Amanda Blanc said in a statement.

"But they are in the midst of short careers, many in the prime of those careers and we are asking them to make a financial sacrifice that they won't have planned for."

Under a system introduced last year, the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) pays 80 percent of the salaries of the 38 top-ranked players, with the players' regions contributing the remaining 20 percent.

Wages for those outside the top band are paid entirely by their teams.

The sides feature in the Pro14 league competition and the European Champions and Challenge Cups, while rugby across all levels in Wales has been suspended.

Wales head coach Wayne Pivac and WRU chairman had already announced a reduction in their wages by the same amount as the players.

Earlier on Wednesday, Welsh health officials announced the number of deaths caused by the illness had increased by 33 to 245, with 4,073 registered cases.

Wales' captain Alun Wyn Jones is among the players who will take a 25% cut in salary