Premiership clubs will be forced to take “drastic action” because the coronavirus outbreak could see them go six months without income, Gloucester chief executive Lance Bradley has said.
The Cherry and Whites, Saracens, Wasps and Worcester all announced 25% pay cuts, from 1 April, on Friday.
With the league suspended clubs are not getting money from broadcasters.
“Our wage bill is around £1m a month. You have to take drastic action,” he told BBC Radio 5 Live.
“We have looked at how long this situation is likely to last and, although the league is suspended for five weeks, we think it could be six months where the club has no income at all.
“If we could have avoided making these salary cuts we would but the reality is if we don’t do something like this we are going to run out of money.”
Saracens, Wasps and Worcester say the wages cut will not apply to lower-paid staff.
Other Premiership clubs are in talks with their players over similar measures, while Scottish football club Hearts said on Thursday they were asking players and staff to take a 50% pay reduction.
Bradley said he was “incredibly proud and impressed” with how the players and staff had reacted to their wages being cut by a quarter.
“They were shocked of course but very quickly understood how serious the situation was,” he said.
“The response brought a lump to my throat. It was extremely positive, even from players leaving the club at the end of the season. It has been really heart-warming.”
‘Ready to go as soon as the government say’
Earlier on Friday, the Rugby Football Union confirmed the end of the season for all levels below the Premiership following the coronavirus outbreak.
Bradley is confident the players would be ready to play again as soon as they were permitted to and is open to the season restarting behind closed doors.
“Getting games going again would solve most of the problems,” he said. “The players are on holiday at the moment and they’re all keeping fit and we can get them match fit relatively quickly.
“I think the most likely scenario is that the first game or two played is behind closed doors and then I would imagine there will be a gradual restriction in crowds.
“It’s absolutely a possibility the first game back will be behind closed doors and just shown on BT.”