The Rugby Players Association (RPA) has vowed to continue to fight for its members over contract problems as a result of Premiership clubs voting to lower the salary cap.
Premiership teams agreed unanimously to cut the cap by £1.4million to £5m, plus the existing £600,000 of academy credits, from the 2021-22 season to help alleviate the financial pressures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The reduction is to stay in place until the end of the 2023-24 campaign, while from the beginning of the 2022-23 term clubs will be allowed only one marquee signing dispensation as opposed to two, except in cases where teams already have two contracts in place with excluded players.
However, the RPA has expressed its concerns over the handling of the situation and said it remains opposed to permanent pay cuts, promising to take further action if a compromise is not found.
RPA chairman Mark Lambert said: “Most of the players have already had temporary 25 per cent pay cuts since March and April as a result of the unprecedented financial challenges exposed by COVID-19.
“PRL [Premiership Rugby Limited] have been seeking agreement to reduce players’ wages permanently by 25 per cent across all PRL clubs. This was unanimously rejected by the Players’ Board.
“The RPA has 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.
Northampton Saints wholeheartedly supports the decision confirmed by Premiership Rugby and its clubs today. https://t.co/lJo75SSjbS
— Northampton Saints (@SaintsRugby) June 10, 2020
“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 18.
“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.”
It was announced last week the Premiership hopes to resume its suspended 2019-20 season by August 15.
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