Christian Day has described the haphazard way the 13 elite professional clubs in England individually applied their coronavirus outbreak wage cuts as an absolute mess. The Rugby Players Association player liaison has shed light on the lost ground his union had to make up following the scattergun approach by the Gallagher Premiership clubs – and newly promoted Newcastle – to the various pandemic-enforced pay cuts and furloughs.
Speaking on the BBC’s Rugby Union Weekly podcast, Day explained: “All 13 clubs have done this their own way. There was no discussion with us beforehand and no central discussion from Premiership Rugby (PRL) either.
“Each club has gone about it quite differently and that has produced 13 different problems to try and solve. What we would have preferred from the start was a lot more dialogue and understanding which is what seems to be happening in football currently.
“They are not just saying ‘this is going to happen’. There is instead a discussion of why it needs to happen and how it is all going to work.”
Day was especially disappointed that low earners at some clubs were hit in the pocket rather than their circumstances being treated differently to the sport’s higher earners. “There are academy players out there earning minimum wage, there absolutely are – £8,000 a year. For them to take a 25 per cent pay cut, for me, is not fair. Those are the extremes of the situation we are trying to temper a little bit.
“All 13 clubs have done this their own way. Some started at the end of March, some are doing it for April. Each club had its own sliding scale as to who got cut what and each club would have a different bottom.
“Most clubs had a £25,000 ceiling on the cuts, but some didn’t, and then you had the complication of the government bringing in the furlough scheme, which added more complexity to it. Without central governance saying ‘this is what is going to happen and why’ it is an absolute mess really.
“Everyone knows what we are in is unprecedented, the clubs are all suffering and the whole nation is suffering, but it’s just a case of trying to find a solution that works for as many people as possible.”
Sign up to our mailing list for a weekly digest from the wide world of rugby.Sign Up Now