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Premiership players say clubs have treated them with 'absolute disregard'

The clubs have agreed to reduce the salary cap by £1.4 million from next season onwards.

THE RUGBY PLAYERS Association [RPA] in England has accused Premiership clubs of treating its members with “an absolute disregard” and warned that the two parties are on course for “a significant legal dispute” unless meaningful dialogue takes place urgently.

The strong statement from RPA chairman Mark Lambert comes in the wake of the Premiership clubs unanimously agreeing to cut the salary cap by £1.4 million for two years

The salary cap reduction agreement follows players taking temporary 25% pay cuts in recent months due to the financial challenge posed by the Covid-19 outbreak.

exeter-chiefs-v-saracens-gallagher-premiership-final-twickenham-stadium Saracens won the Premiership last year but have since been relegated due to salary cap breaches. Source: Paul Harding

With Premiership players now facing permanent pay cuts due to the reported salary cap reduction, RPA has accused the clubs and Premiership Rugby of acting in a “totally unacceptable” manner and called for players to be “treated with respect” having omitted them from the recent discussions.

“Most of the players have already had temporary 25% pay cuts since March and April as a result of the unprecedented financial challenges exposed by Covid-19,” said Lambert.

“PRL have been seeking agreement to reduce players’ wages permanently by 25% across all PRL clubs. This was unanimously rejected by the Players’ Board.

“The RPA have been working diligently over the last 12 weeks to seek to avoid a repeat of the damaging situation the game found itself in when the clubs imposed temporary wage cuts on a unilateral basis in mid-March.

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“This latest situation could have been entirely avoided with a collaborative and transparent approach and we now find ourselves heading towards a significant legal dispute unless meaningful and genuine dialogue takes place urgently.

“In the meantime, the RPA position remains unequivocal: the RPA is opposed to permanent cuts for our members.

“From the outset of this crisis there has been an absolute disregard for the players and the values of the game.

“Players at some clubs are now being served with ultimatums and being put under undue pressure to sign amended contracts through the manufactured deadline of June 18th.

“To be clear, this is a totally unacceptable way to operate. Players are the lifeblood of the game and should be treated with respect. Players should not engage with this approach.

“The RPA will continue to fight for our members throughout this crisis.”

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