Bristol chief executive Mark Tainton has warned that the currently suspended Gallagher Premiership must be completed by June 30 or face contractual chaos.
A multitude of player contracts are due to expire on this date at all twelve clubs in the league, and complicating the outlook is how players – such as Kyle Sinckler who is joining the Bears from Harlequins – are due to officially switch clubs on July 1.
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This situation is set to pour cold water on speculation that the season will be extended to accommodate the fixtures lost to the five-week break currently in force due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking to the Bristol Post after the Gallagher Premiership on Monday became the last professional league to pull the plug on its fixtures schedule due to the spread of the virus, Tainton can’t see a club season due to finish with Twickenham final on June 20 being pushed back into the following month.
“At the moment we are in the process that games will be rescheduled, they are only postponed at the moment, so that is the line we have taken. We are hoping to get everything done and dusted by June where possible and that is our target at the moment,” he said.
“With contracts, the majority of players’ contracts which are finishing this season, finish on the 30th of June. Their contracts then start with other clubs.
“It’s not like we can just extend people’s contracts because they have already been done and likewise we have signed additional players for the next year whose contracts start on July 1.”
According to the Bristol Post, Bristol have 13 players on their books who are set to become free agents in three months’ time while players such as Ian Madigan are due to leave for other clubs (the Irishman is joining Ulster).
“We are trying to ensure we get his season finished by June 30 wherever possible, if the season does run later than that then it [player contracts] is something all the Premiership clubs and Premiership Rugby will have to seriously look at, not just with players’ contracts but with the salary cap and all those other issues we might have with the governing body.”
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