Ellis Genge of England said it was time to “shake up the rugby scene” after confirming his intention to form a new union, designed to provide top players with better business and legal advice.
He believes that the players have been “uninformed” of the actions taken by the clubs following the coronavirus pandemic.
The 25-year-old spokesman for Leicester said the new organization would be independently funded to avoid conflicts of interest.
“We would not have to answer to a governing body,” he said.
Genge set out his vision for the latest episode of the Rugby Union Weekly podcast, but said he’s not trying to replace the Rugby Players’ Association (RPA), which was established in 1998 and has represented the best English players since then .
However, Genge feels that the APR is compromised because of the funding it receives from the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Premiership Rugby (PRL) and, therefore, “cannot bite the hand that feeds” .
He added, “We are not doing a new APR. I think they really do a good job with wellness in rugby and they really take care of people. “
“But I think people were badly advised [over the pay cuts]. People were told from the start to sign the contracts without almost reading them.
“On a commercial level, I didn’t think that everyone was very well represented.
“So I’m trying to set up a players’ union. This is not to replace the APR or to combat the RFU. Honestly, it’s nothing like that.
“It’s just so that people can get great advice from trusted professionals in these specific areas: [for example] around commercial and legal [issues]. “
RPA Liaison Officer Christian Day told Rugby Union Weekly earlier this month that different approaches by Premiership clubs to pay cuts had led to “complete disorder” of a situation , and called for “more dialogue” from the start.
Meanwhile, RPA general manager Damian Hopley told The Daily Telegraph that the union had given “as much advice, information and guidance to players as possible” during the process, but said that all parties would admit that it could have been handled differently.
“The players tell me they were sewn”
Genge, along with his Tigers teammate Greg Bateman, sought legal aid after being asked to take a 25% pay cut by the Leicester hierarchy before being placed on leave.
Although their actions initially led to a confrontation with club officials, Genge says the problem is now resolved, but adds that seeking outside advice was the right decision given the legal complexity of the leave situation.
“No one wants to hear that you have a 25% pay cut, but there are bigger powers at stake in the world,” he said.
“I think the way we did it gave me and a few other people the idea of making it a regular thing.
“If people need advice on severance pay or any other contract – and of course the agents do – but it’s always good to have more support.
“I had a lot of rugby friends who came up to me and said,” I was sewn with this, or I was harassed with it, or I don’t know how to approach it. “
“I said to myself, why don’t we have another union that boys can contact independently?” “
“It’s time to shake the scene”
Genge has entered into negotiations with a multitude of private finance stakeholders, hoping that a number of players will be ready to invest in the business, with the prospect of a return on investment.
“The boys should understand that it is going to be run independently, and for that you will need a decent kitty,” he said.
“But we get good help from a lot of good people. This is so that everyone, as a whole, is represented much better commercially.
“The APR does a lot of these negotiations, and it will always lean in favor of the RFU or the PRL, and I fully understand these situations. There is no nastiness behind it, but that’s basically how it works right now. “
“I’m not trying to meet club owners, RFU or RPA, I think we can all work in tandem.
“But I think it’s time to shake up the rugby scene and take care of the players – commercially and in all aspects – much better. “