On Thursday 19th March the RPA Players Board were informed of the news from PRL that players from the 13 member clubs would be faced with imminent wage cuts in order to help alleviate the unprecedented financial crisis that is threatening the future of the professional game in England. Following on from that meeting, the RPA, PRL and players and clubs have been working through a number of scenarios to better inform and understand the fast moving situation that is changing on a daily basis.
First of all, it is unequivocal to state that all the players fully accept the extraordinary circumstances the world has been plunged into through the out-break of COVID-19, and we all understand the necessity behind contractual variations to get through these incredibly challenging times. Given that this proposal has only been live for a week, we have been working extremely hard with the RPA Players Reps, who have done an outstanding job on behalf of their fellow players, PRL and the clubs to address a number of concerns that have emerged in that short term regarding the more vulnerable players, at opposite ends of their playing careers.
We have provided appropriate advice to our 700+ players, all of whom have different circumstances, and it has been extremely encouraging to see some of the concerns addressed proactively by the employers. Given the pace at which this pandemic is moving, we are all working hard to share as much information with all stakeholders, whilst recognising that there are 13 different clubs involved, who now face materially reduced income for the foreseeable future.
We will continue to work closely and have constructive dialogue in the coming weeks but the message coming from the players is one of support for our industry and that we will all take responsibility to help the game get through these precarious times. In closing, we recognise that non playing staff are equally affected and are also making significant sacrifices, so it is imperative that everyone working in the game can pull together to get through this crisis and that, when rugby can safely return for fans and players alike, we will emerge in a stronger position.