Professional Rugby Board apologises for ‘stress’ caused to Welsh players by contract dispute
Professional Rugby Board chair Malcom Wall has apologised unreservedly to Welsh players for the “stress and real discomfort” caused by the current contract dispute.
A new six-year financial agreement between the Welsh Rugby Union and Wales’ four professional regions – Dragons, Cardiff, Ospreys and Scarlets – has not yet been signed off in writing after months of discussion.
The regions are braced for financial cuts, but no playing budgets have been finalised for next season, so no contracts can be offered in writing.
The situation has led to a threat of strike action by Wales players, leaving the upcoming Guinness Six Nations clash against England in jeopardy.
Speaking on the BBC’s Scrum V programme, Wall said: “We’ve been working on a long-term secure and sustainable funding model for frankly too long.
“I absolutely recognise the fact we haven’t got that funding model in place is having an impact on ability to offer contracts and I unreservedly apologise on behalf of the PRB for the stress and real discomfort that players obviously feel.
“We will push very hard to complete this, but it is complex. We’re trying to put a six-year framework in place that will total over £315million.
“It has been very complex, we are very close to it. We’ve got a long-form documentation, we now have to go through the page turns and make sure that it’s fit for everybody’s purpose.
“These aren’t excuses because I’m genuinely upset and feel very personally that I’ve not done what I should have done as chair of the PRB in getting us to the place we want to be with this long-term funding agreement and therefore the ability to remove the uncertainty from people not having contracts.
“But we are pushing hard to try to build something that is secure and sustainable for some time.”
It is understood that the players want a place at PRB board meetings and the removal of the contentious 60-cap rule, whereby a player plying his trade outside the country cannot be picked for Wales unless he has made at least that number of Test appearances.
They are also concerned about contracts that have fixed-variable elements accounting for 20 per cent of salaries.
Wall said that Gareth Lewis of the Welsh Rugby Players’ Association (WRPA) had been invited to be an “observer and contributor” to the PRB and that an announcement on the 60-cap rule was due in the next few days following an accelerated review.
He added: “With regard to the fixed and variable, we still believe it is the right way to go forward and we are arranging with the WRPA this week to hopefully conduct a town hall (meeting), or more than one, with players in order to better explain the reasoning behind that.”
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Having looked more into it, I think It’s absolutely disgusting how these Warriors and entertainers are being treated, they are pretty much being forced to take a huge pay cut at the exact time Politicians are getting a raise. They definitely should go on strike, firstly because they are deserving of more, not less. Especially after winning so many six nations titles in recent years (Last Decade). Secondly, because they should hold the WRU to account about how they’ve been running the business side of things. They are Amateurs at best, incompetent or Sabotage at worst. Rugby in Wales need… Read more »
The WRU are the top dog, are they not? Aren’t they there to oversee the game within Wales? If they can’t then they are unfit for purpose and the people there should be replaced with those who can run it correctly.
If Wales cannot sustain four regions then how is it going to sustain 12 clubs?
Sadly this is the real Wru failure. The regions have not grown rugby, the game has not generated the money you would expect for all the declaration of love for the sport. Barely see a Wales jersey outside match days, even then, less worn. Same goes for clubs. They have failed the players, a restart needed, so they can then pay better.
So the Senedd can hold a special committee in regards to racism, sexism and misogyny in the WRU, songs with outdated attitudes can get banned, but they cannot hold the WRU into account into the treatment of its players?
If the match does get cancelled on Saturday then that will be a huge blow to Cardiff’s catering industry. Pub trade, restaurants, accommodation etc, who have already suffered from the pandemic and the cost of living crisis.
Here is my suggestion… 1) Reduce the number of regions to three. North, East and West. 2) Rebrand the regions so that they truly represent their region and not just the city/town they play in 3) The Welsh Premier Division should allow promotion and relegation for North Wales clubs to enter (RGC had to go via the East Division). If teams like Barry Town or Haverfordwest County can play Connahs Quay Nomads or Caernarfon Town in the Cymru Premiership every other week, then rugby clubs in the north should get the same opportunity. 4) Scrap they 60 cap rule. If… Read more »