Ellis Genge: England prop criticises ‘outdated’ rugby contracts

England prop Ellis Genge has claimed players’ contracts in rugby are outdated and need modernising as a matter of urgency.

Genge was an outspoken critic in April when clubs enforced 25 per cent pay cuts on their squads to combat the financial crisis provoked by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 25-year-old Leicester Tigers forward has since abandoned plans to start a new players’ union called Rugby Players Epoch.

“They’re so outdated. You’ve still got contracts from 20 years ago and the game has changed monumentally. You can imagine some of the weird stuff written in them,” Genge said.

“For us as a game to get off the ground… you see football, there are so many intricacies in their contracts and the way they are written, some of the mad clauses.

“Everyone in rugby has the exact same contract, unless there’s a match bonus, and in France it’s a bit different with houses and cars, but here it’s the exact same contract.

“The only thing that is different is the figure which is crazy because every player is different. They should be able to open it up and really get creative with it.”

Genge wanted to set up an alternative to the Rugby Players Association due to his concern that the current body representing players is compromised by receiving the majority of its funding from the Rugby Football Union.

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He felt that players needed better commercial and legal advice in the wake of the 25 per cent reductions.

“Hopefully it’ll spark a conversation. I knew I wasn’t going to take over the world with it,” Genge said.

“I was saying it was the right time to do something, it started a few fires and hopefully they grow but people just didn’t want to see it get off the ground in the higher echelons of the game and I just grew tired of it.

“That’s dead in the water from my point of view but if there’s someone out there who wants to give it a crack, it’s a great venture.

“It would probably have to be someone post-sport who isn’t involved directly so they can speak freely.”

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