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SBD Global/March 28, 2014/Leagues and Governing Bodies

Rugby Union Players Association Threatens War Over Australian Rugby Union Deals

The Rugby Union Players Association "could walk away from its offer to accept slashed Test match payments if the Australian Rugby Union reneges on its contractual agreement to fund 25 fringe Super Rugby players each year," according to Wayne Smith of THE AUSTRALIAN. ARU CEO Bill Pulver announced on Tuesday that, "in light of the ARU’s dire financial predicament," he was considering axing the A$250,000 ($231,500) Extended Player Squad funding to each of the country’s five Super Rugby franchises. The money "is in addition to ARU funding that allows the franchises to employ 30 fully contracted players" on minimum salaries of A$65,000 annually. If Pulver pushes ahead with plans to abolish EPS funding, "he could force RUPA on to a war footing with the ARU." RUPA CEO Greg Harris warned that "if the ARU did not uphold its side of the agreement then the players would feel under no obligation to honour the commitments they had given." Asked what would happen if neither the ARU nor the franchises were able to fund the minimum five rookies per team, Harris said, “It’s a breach of the CBA. If they don’t want to honor their component of it, then all bets are off. Basically it means the CBA is out the door. It could break down" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 3/28).
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