The row between English Premiership clubs and the Rugby Players’ Association over the reduced salary cap has escalated dramatically over the past 24 hours.
On Thursday, the RPA issued a statement saying it will oppose the 13 Premier Rugby Limited stakeholders’ (club owners) unanimous decision to reduce salaries via the salary cap because the decision was made without consulting the players who will be impacted by the cuts.
On Friday, Premiership clubs hit back, rubbishing the actions of the RPA and accusing the union of missing deadlines to negotiate with them.
In a further twist, the clubs declared that their stance is independent of their umbrella organisation, Premiership Rugby Ltd (PRL).
Players are being pressured to accept permanent 25% wage cuts but the clubs insist the RPA’s threat of legal action is misplaced.
‘Rather than provide support for their members, the RPA have served to sow division and create uncertainty during a critical period that could define the future of professional rugby in the UK,’ read a statement.
‘While we accept that tough decisions have been made, we wholeheartedly believe those choices have been taken in the best interests of the clubs, players and the long-term prosperity of the competition.’
The RPA, in a counter-statement on Friday night, described the situation as ‘a sad day in the history of rugby’ and rejected ‘factually incorrect’ allegations made by the clubs.
‘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 the clubs are taking will continue to cause substantial long-term damage to player and club relations going forward.’
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