MLR's pay-up reaction to coronavirus stoppage at odds with salary-cutting English clubs
Major League Rugby officials in America have decided to do a very honourable thing – to honour in full the contracts of all its players despite the cancellation of the 2020 season just five weeks into the campaign.
The teething American league, the home this season to a galaxy of high profile names such as Ma’a Nonu, Mathieu Bastareaud and recent World Cup winner Tendai Mtawarira, pulled the plug on the remainder of the campaign on March 19 rather than adopting a wait-and-see approach to the spread of the coronavirus.
However, unlike some other tournaments where around the world where players have had pay cuts enforced on them or given unpaid leave, a meeting of the MLR board of governors has resulted in them voting to pay each player their full contract for the 2020 season.
There were fears that the squads for the twelve teams in the tournaments would be left out of pocket following the cancellation.
Each club had employed on average 25 full-time players under a per club salary cap of $500,000 where the maximum individual salary of $45,000.
Meanwhile, upwards of 120 part-time players will continue to be paid their weekly rate through to June when the play-offs were supposed to begin.
The decision by the Americans to honour player contracts should reflect positively on the MLR given the issues in tournaments such as the Gallagher Premiership in England where it’s reported that the entire Leicester Tigers squad are strongly considering rejecting the 25 per cent salary cut sought by the club.
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