Premiership player exodus feared with Wasps and Gloucester among clubs to warn stars that 25% pay cuts will continue for ‘foreseeable future’
- It is understood that Wasps have informed squad that cuts will be permanent
- Stars at Gloucester and other clubs were warned reductions are likely to extend
- Clubs in the top division face a bleak financial outlook as a result of lockdown
- Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19
Gloucester and Wasps are among a host of Premiership clubs who have informed players that their pay cuts will continue for the ‘foreseeable future’, prompting fears of an exodus from the league.
As first reported by Sportsmail on May 1, clubs in the top division – facing a bleak financial outlook as a result of the current shut-down – have been in talks for weeks about turning the emergency 25 per cent salary reductions into a long-term policy; the so-called ‘new normal’.
It is understood that they had agreed to collectively implement the plan, in an attempt to avert the threat of players leaving in droves, but that appears to be an increasing possibility.
Wasps and Gloucester have informed players that their pay cuts will continue in the future
It is understood that Wasps have informed staff and players that cuts will become permanent
Squads are expected to resume training this week against a backdrop of unrest. The pay cuts are regarded as a breach of contract, which would allow players to move on whenever they wish. With the vast majority of the Premiership united in a pledge not to poach from each other, there are already rumours about defections to Japan, where there is financial stability and high wages.
Multiple sources indicated on Tuesday night that Wasps have informed staff and players that the cuts will become permanent, while players at Gloucester and other clubs have already been warned that reductions are likely to extend for the duration of current contracts.
In March, Sportsmail reported that players at certain clubs were openly discussing the option of taking strike action if their full pay was not reinstated when training started again, so that scenario could come to a head soon.
Premiership outfit Wasps are struggling to cope with huge debts at the moment
Officials from Premiership Rugby and the players’ union, the RPA, are due to hold a conference cal on Wednesday to thrash out the exact details of how clubs can start preparing together for a return to action, with players training in small groups.
Sale appeared to jump the gun by reconvening at their Carrington base on Monday, before being given the all-clear to do so, in line with a league-wide agreement, but it is understood that the Cheshire club abandoned their activities on Tuesday, after pressure was applied. They will now wait for permission to proceed.
Meanwhile, club officials are on Wednesday due to discuss the myriad recommendations in the Myners report about an overhaul of the salary cap. There is not expected to be a decision yet about whether to implement the proposals, but sources have claimed that the vast majority of clubs are ready to vote in favour of the changes, in the aftermath of Saracens being found guilty of past cap breaches and condemned to relegation.
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