The Rugby Players’ Association says it is a “sad day in the history of rugby” as the civil war between players and Premiership clubs over pay rages on.
In a statement released to The Times, the clubs accused the RPA of not giving its members “appropriate advice”.
Most top-flight players took a 25% pay cut in March because of coronavirus.
Now the Union have responded with a statement of their own, accusing the clubs of “personally attacking” players and their representatives.
They’ve also said the suggestion there was an agreement to make pay cuts permanent is “pure fabrication.
Read the full statement below.
In relation to the statement released by the Premiership clubs earlier today, the RPA is compelled to address the factually incorrect comments contained within and ensure that our members and all the game’s stakeholders, including supporters, are clear on the facts.
Our response to the specific issues are below:
1. It is a sad day in the history of rugby that the game finds itself in this position. PRL and the clubs have decided to publicly criticise the RPA and, by doing so, personally attack players and their representatives. Throughout this crisis both the RPA and players have been open to a collaborative and positive solution to address the long-term financial viability of the game.
2. Our Players Board met on the 26th May to receive a formal proposal from PRL regarding the future of the game. In reality, the proposal was singularly for immediate and permanent pay cuts. Our Board voted unanimously against that proposal. To suggest there have been any other agreements in relation to permanent pay cuts is complete fabrication.
3. On the 22nd April, a non-disclosure agreement was sent to the RPA but categorically did not include any financial information and no deadline for response. To reiterate, at no point has the RPA been provided with any detailed financial information from PRL or the clubs. This NDA was not signed and could never be without RPA Players Board approval. As already stated above, our Board voted unanimously against immediate and permanent pay cuts.
4. PRL and their member clubs are fully aware that, at the same meeting, the Players Board unanimously voted for a counter proposal of independent mediation, chaired by a leading QC through Sports Resolutions. This counter proposal remains unanswered and is a resounding example of the players being open to a professional, collaborative and constructive dialogue to help address the future of the game. The offer remains on the table.
5. The changes to the Salary Cap as announced on Wednesday and the arbitrary June 18th deadline for contracts to be “existing” were passed with no consultation of players. That has led to a significant number of our members faced with immediate contractual decisions to make about their long-term futures in order to facilitate this change for the clubs. This approach exposes the lack of governance within the Premiership, as recently highlighted by Lord Myners’ independent review.
6. The RPA have never threatened strike action and would not recommend this as an appropriate course of action.
7. Regarding the welfare of players; PRL states that there is no intention to reduce Academy salaries of those players at the low end of the spectrum, however there is evidence that this has already happened at some clubs.
8. The RPA has acted, and will continue to act, in the best interests of our player membership and support their legal rights.
9. The players are a vital part of the game and deserve to be treated with respect, which is a key value of rugby. The current unreasonable approach that the clubs are taking will continue to cause substantial long-term damage to player and club relations going forward. The clubs statement ends with a call for mutual understanding and respect, both require reciprocation. Our offer of mediation remains open.
The Team Voted The Greatest England XV
With the 2019 Rugby World Cup now under a year away in Japan, Sky Sports wanted to know what you think the best-ever England XV from the World Cup era is.
And after 30,000 votes, here is the team fans selected. There are one or two surprise inclusions.
Fullback: JASON ROBINSON (94% of the vote)
The speedster was a menace whatever number was on his back, a bewildering opponent, a man seemingly able to sidestep in mid-air, with pace and nerve and vision, tough in the tackle, intelligent in his use of angles and selfless when it came to creating openings for teammates.Embed from Getty Images
Winger: JOSH LEWSEY (56%)
A player reborn after joining the armed forces and playing for Wasps simultaneously; his physical prowess was matched with a determination to constantly improve and a wonderful ability to read the game in front of him.Embed from Getty Images
Centre: JEREMY GUSCOTT (69%)
The Prince of Centres,’ was how Guscott was described by Clive Woodward. And he wasn’t wrong.Embed from Getty Images