Player salaries can't be maintained in current climate: Bristol chief

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(Reuters) - Bristol Bears Chairman Chris Booy has said it is unrealistic for players in the English Premiership to expect to maintain their current salaries while clubs struggle to deal with the financial crisis brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

All top-flight clubs voted this week to reduce the league's salary cap from the 2021-22 season until 2023-2024 with the ceiling for senior players to be set at 5 million pounds ($6.27 million), down from the current 6.4 million pounds.

The decision was taken without the approval of the Rugby Players Association, who voted against a Premiership proposal regarding permanent pay cuts last month.

"These are tough times. The unfortunate reality is that people are going to lose their jobs and accept pay cuts in many industries across society. Rugby is no different," Booy told the Telegraph.

"If a club does not have the resources to pay then they go out of business. Clubs have to do what they need to do to survive this and if the biggest cost is players' wages then that's where the negotiations have to happen."

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)