Premiership clubs will ask players to take a huge pay-cut because of the financial effects of the coronavirus outbreak, according to multiple sources.
The Gallagher Premiership has been suspended until at least 20 April, with a further delay expected.
It has been reported that clubs’ central funding from Premiership Funding has been slashed by a quarter this week, which may reflect the demand for players to have their wages docked by 25%.
The Telegraph has reported that “Both Gloucester and Sale Sharks have called staff meetings for Friday in which they will outline the radical measures and it is believed up to seven other clubs, including Harlequins, Leicester and Wasps, are prepared to follow suit.
“Docking any wages would constitute a breach of contract and so players would have to agree to the proposal.”
The board of the Rugby Players’ Association met via conference call on Thursday to consider their position, and subsequently wrote to all their members to alert them to the developing situation.
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“While we fully appreciate the unprecedented times around global sport, we are also seeking urgent clarification on the current financial impact for English club rugby,” RPA chief executive Damian Hopley told BBC Sport.
“Our advice is that players hear what the clubs have to say and then we will consider a collective position across the league.”
The 12 highest-paid players currently in the Gallagher Premiership
With the Gallagher Premiership returning this week, we have had a look at the paid players in the league.
*NOTE: This is only a list of players whose salaries have been revealed in the media.
12. Danny Cipriani (Gloucester) – £400,000
The fly-half was on £190,000 to £200,000 when he first joined the Cherry and Whites, which was a relatively modest wage for a player of his calibre and experience. It’s been reported that his new deal is closer to £400,000.
11. Joe Launchbury (Wasps) – £420,000
The England second-row became the clubs highest-paid player after extending his contract earlier this season.
9-. Chris Ashton (Sale Sharks) – £450,000
9=. Henry Slade (Exeter Chiefs) – £450,000
The Mail Online reported Slade will be paid around £450,000-a-year after signing a new two-year deal at Sandy Park earlier this year while teammate Jack Nowell will earn £350,000.