Coronavirus wrap: Blades squad agree wage deferral as Magic Weekend postponed

Sheffield United’s players have followed manager Chris Wilder and his backroom team in accepting terms.

By Press Association Published: 21 April 2020 - 1.20pm

Sheffield United players have agreed a wage deferral until the end of 2020 as the coronavirus crisis continues to disrupt sport, with two major events in the rugby league calendar newly affected.

The Blades first-team squad have followed the lead of manager Chris Wilder, his backroom staff and the club’s chief executive Stephen Bettis in accepting terms on holding part of their wages and bonus back during the pandemic.

Bettis said on the club’s official website: “This announcement follows positive and constructive discussions throughout the club, taking into account the severity of the situation that the country finds itself in at the moment.

“It is a difficult period for everyone, but our football club also needs to be taken care of and I’m delighted that the players want to mirror the gesture of Chris and the staff by contributing, it confirms that they care about Sheffield United.

“The players should be commended, not only for this action, but also for their role in the #playerstogether initiative with other Premier League clubs.”

The Betfred Super League’s Dacia Magic Weekend – where all 12 teams play at the same venue – was earlier postponed.

The games were due to be held at St James’ Park in Newcastle on May 23-24 but organisers now hope to stage the event at a later date.

Super League chief executive Robert Elstone said: “It’s regrettable that Super League has had to make this decision – but in light of the current situation, it is sadly unavoidable.

“Our fans will be disappointed because they were all looking forward to returning to Newcastle; however, Magic is still firmly in our plans for 2020, with St James’ Park, at a later date, one of the options being considered.”

The second-tier equivalent, which was due to be staged at Blackpool’s Bloomfield Road the following weekend, has been cancelled.

The Rugby Football League stated that Championship clubs agreed there was “no realistic prospect of staging the event as planned this year”.

The cost of the pandemic to Cricket Australia has been confirmed as about £10million but the losses could be more severe if a four-Test series against India, starting in October, is cancelled.

CA chief executive Kevin Roberts told an online press conference: “At this point we won’t rule anything out in terms of the India series.

“We want to stage a series that inspires the cricket world, whether or not there’s people at the venue. So we’ll explore all the viable options.”