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Welsh pay-deal delay causing stress

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Delay in WRU pay agreement has left some players seeking psychological help - reports

Psychological help has been sought by some Welsh players stressed out by delays over the introduction of a new pay system that has left the PRO14 regions unable to re-sign those who are heading towards the status of free agents at then end of this season.

Pay bands are being brought in under which players are to be placed in different brackets and remunerated accordingly. However, some players have allegedly become increasingly fearful of what the future holds, according to reports on walesonline.co.uk. The website even believes that members of the Wales squad are affected by the stand-off. 

It’s claimed that the remuneration system discussed between the Welsh Rugby Union and the regions could be split into five separate bands.

Anything between £25,000 and £110,000 could be earned by regional players who don’t play at Test level. Between £110,000 and £190,000 could also be banked by new internationals, but a band has allegedly yet to be agreed covering players who make the Wales squad but don’t regularly feature in the starting line-up.

Test regulars would be in line to pocket between £180,000 and £300,000, while Lions players could be on between £250,000 and £450,000.

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However, the delay in the implementation of this proposed pay structure has apparently left some players seeking jobs outside rugby while some have also been described as “petrified” that picking up an injury in the next few weeks would leave them vulnerable to being cast aside or left unwanted by other clubs if they fail to agree terms with their current teams. 

“It’s just really scary,” said one player, who declined to be named in the revelatory walesonline.co.uk article. “A number of boys have just four wage packets left before they are out of contract and they have no idea if they are going to be wanted next season or what they will definitively be paid. It’s horrendous and heart-breaking.

“There are people with mortgages to pay and families to look after, but they can’t plan anything or have any kind of peace of mind while this cloud is hanging over them.

“I have heard that a few boys at one region at least have been seeking psychological help to deal with the stress of it all. People have been struggling mentally, and while we all know that we shouldn’t worry about things we can’t control, it is easier said than done when you could find yourself on the scrapheap within a few months.

“I don’t want to be overpaid. I just want to be fairly paid and to be allowed to crack on with my job. I know that’s the mindset of a load of the boys I’ve spoken to across the regions.

“In a perfect world, everything would have been signed off months ago and we could have been concentrating on the rugby. But here we are in mid-February and the situation is still up in the air.

“No other group of workers would put up with it. The mood among the boys I’m close to isn’t great. People are demoralised and fed-up.

“What do you do if you get seriously injured in the coming weeks? I’m petrified of that happening and others are, too. You could cut be adrift by your region and find it hard to get a new club for next season. I’m speaking to the press because it’s a way of letting people know about the nightmare situation we are in.

“WalesOnline did a story on the pay banding a few months ago and that did us a favour because before then all we’d heard were rumours of what was being proposed. Had that story not come out we probably still wouldn’t know the full details. I just think we deserve better.”

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Delay in WRU pay agreement has left some players seeking psychological help - reports