Rugby Australia chief executive officer Raelene Castle is taking a 50 per cent pay cut and foreshadowed more cuts in other areas, but is adamant the code will survive into next year.
The COVID-19 pandemic has robbed RA of ongoing match day and broadcast revenue, causing further financial heartache after legal costs and the settlement of the Israel Folau saga.
At their annual general meeting on Monday, RA revealed a $9.4 million operating deficit for 2019.
Castle said there would be a professional game in 2021 and her main focus was on the next three months. and keeping RA, Super Rugby teams and other member unions financially viable.
She revealed she'd be taking a 50 per cent pay cut and the senior executives will take a 30 per cent hit.
Asked if that was good enough if she would still earn over $400,000, Castle said: "All these things will be discussed on a monthly basis.
"I think that's a pretty good start point to set an example around how important I think this issue is."
She said new Wallabies coach Dave Rennie hadn't featured in pay cut discussions as he hadn't started the job yet.
Castle offered no figures about player pay cuts, saying she would meet with the Rugby Union Players Association (RUPA) on Tuesday.
She said it was highly unlikely that the three July home Tests would go ahead.
Outlining savings already made, Castle hinted at further cost cuts and said RA had been working "night and day" to ensure the code's stability.
"We've done nothing but scenarios around how we could take cost out of the business and that includes all the different contracts we could stop,"' Castle said.
"Obviously with not flying there's lots of travel savings, all the different things we're not doing now because of the shutdown.
"There is no doubt across our business, including our staff, we're going to have some very difficult conversations."
Castle said there was a possibility down the track of either grant or loan assistance from the federal government and World Rugby.
She said RA was still getting revenue from different areas, including broadcasting sponsorship and government.
Castle said he 2021 calendar could look different to what was currently planned.
"At the moment we've got contracts in place around delivering a Super Rugby structure, with four teams, and that's the model that we'll be working to,"' she said.' .
"But it would be crazy for us not to be thinking about other scenarios that might roll out, be that domestic, international or the SANZAAR product."
RA chairman Paul McLean admitted the code had been thrown into "unprecedented and extremely uncertain times" which would require significant cuts across the business for the sport to remain financially viable.
RA's operating costs increased by $6.6 million in 2019.
It quoted a provisional $9.4 million loss in the absence of a fully audited financial account, which is not yet available due to complications stemming from the coronavirus.
'It's not unusual for accounts to be finalised and not signed for a period of months after,"' McLean said.
Supercars chairman Peter Wiggs, Virgin Blue co-founder Brett Godfrey and Wallabies great Daniel Herbert were confirmed as new RA board members at the meeting.
Australian Associated Press