Players threaten with 'legal action' over salary cap saga
REACTION: Premiership clubs could face a major backlash, including legal action, after the latest developments around the salary cap saga.
Following reports that Premiership Rugby Limited owners unanimously decided to reduce, unilaterally, the salary cap for forthcoming seasons, the RPA has hit back with a threat of legal action.
It was reported earlier in the week that all 13 clubs in PRL – Premiership Rugby’s administrative arm – had unanimously agreed to cut the league’s salary cap by £1.4m, bringing it down to £5m from the 2021/22 season.
The reduction will be set until the end of the 2023-24 season.
Many players accepted a temporary 25 percent pay cut after professional Rugby Union ground to a halt in March because of the pandemic.
But with the season now set to resume on August 15, well beyond its original finish date and at a time when a number of contracts have expired, the RPA said it was “unequivocally” opposed to making the cuts permanent.
RPA Chairman Mark Lambert insisted they will “continue to fight for our members throughout this crisis”.
“Most of the players have already had temporary 25 percent pay cuts since March and April as a result of the unprecedented financial challenges exposed by COVID-19,” Lambert said in a statement.
“PRL have been seeking agreement to reduce players’ wages permanently by 25 percent 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.
“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.”