Five of Leicester Tigers’ most high profile players could be ‘stood down’ from training by the club if they fail to agree new contract terms before a deadline tomorrow. The five players are refusing to take pay cuts in the form of new contracts.
RugbyPass understands that Ellis Genge, George Ford, Manu Tuilagi, Greg Bateman and Kyle Eastmond (among others) are refusing to take pay cuts and that the Welford Road based side could be set to stand them down from training.
The Telegraph’s Charlie Morgan revealed over the weekend how as much as third of the squad at up in revolt over the new payouts. Tigers’ players have already been hit with 25 per cent reductions to their salaries, and the club are now looking to make further reductions through negotiating new contracts.
The vast majority of the Gallagher Premiership had been driving home new pay cuts before the June 18th Premiership Rugby Ltd deadline, a date prior to which any contract will be considered current and thus able to be counted at just 75 per cent for the purpose of the new £5 million salary cap.
The Telegraph report that many Leicester Tigers players missed that crucial deadline, and the club have now set their own deadline of July 2nd for the outstanding players to sign new contracts, a day before Steve Borthwick officially starts work as the Premiership side’s new head coach.
Genge and Bateman, who attempted to launch a new players union – the Rugby Players Epoch (RPE) – an alternative to the Rugby Players Association (RPA), have been vocal in their opposition to the power wielded by Premiership clubs when negotiating with players.
Yesterday Genge tweeted in reply to fellow England prop Joe Marler that: “when you’re one of the many pigeons that flock around and play you have to adhere to the rules or you will be punished! These boys can do as they f***ing want though, don’t argue with them mind or you’ll be abolished.”
No joe you see, when you’re one of the many pigeons that flock around and play you have to adhere to the rules or you will be punished! These boys can do as they fucking want though, don’t argue with them mind or you’ll be abolished ?
— Gengey (@EllisGenge) June 28, 2020
Leicester Tigers, who failed to sell the business earlier this year, have been harder hit than most in the current climate and are understandably eager to lower their wage bill.
All 13 clubs voted for a major overhaul of the current salary cap system off the back of Lord Myners’ review into the cap following the Saracens scandal, but significant pressure was put on players by their clubs in a race to complete contract before June 18th, adding to an already tense employee/employer dynamic.
The RPA’s Damian Hopley told RugbyPass earlier this month that: “The RPA have raised significant concerns about the artificially manufactured deadline day that players had to sign by last week, announced publicly just one week before the deadline.
“This put untold pressure on players to agree new contracts in a matter of a few days. We do not consider this to be reasonable and appropriate employment practise and a number of players and their representatives have voiced their disquiet about how this has played out over such a short period of time.”
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