Player compensation enflames Premiership-Lions row

Premiership owners have reportedly labelled the British & Irish Lions’ offer for player compensation as ‘derisory’ in the latest development in their stand-off over player releases.

The B&I Lions camp is at loggerheads with Premiership Rugby, after the latter has threatened to block the release of players for a Lions training camp, which has led head coach Warren Gatland to warn that he could leave England’s star players out of the upcoming tour of South Africa.

This was followed by criticism of Gatland from both Exeter Chiefs boss Rob Baxter and Bath head coach Stuart Hooper, who expressed their concern over protecting their clubs and players.

In the latest in the stand-off, Telegraph Sport reports that Premiership bosses have scoffed at the Lions’ player compensation offer for the entire tour, which is reportedly significantly less than the £70,000 clubs received for the 2017 tour of New Zealand.

One Premiership club owner reported that the offer stood at around £40,000 for the entire tour (although it is disputed), which is roughly the same that clubs received for the rearranged Six Nations match between France and Scotland that fell outside of the Test window.

‘They offered us £40,000 for a player whom I am not going to see for much for June, July, August, September, October and November,’ the owner said. ‘So I am not going to see him for six months. Do they want to pay his salary for six months? That’s the impact on me. Should they not be paying £250,000 instead of that derisory amount?’

It is unlikely that the Lions will be able to match the offer of 2017, as they deal with the logistical obstacles of the Covid-19 pandemic. It is unlikely that the ‘red wall’ of Lions supporters will be able to travel to South Africa and the best case scenario will be only 50% capacity stadiums.


Photo: Getty Images