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28 April 2020

England rugby player Ellis Genge to set up 'independent' players' union

England and Leicester Tigers player Ellis Genge wants to set up a new ‘independent’ players' union.

He insists he does not want to replace the Rugby Players' Association (RPA) but, as they are funded by the Rugby Football Union and Premiership Rugby, Genge argues the RPA ‘can’t bite the hands that feed them'.

He told the BBC's Rugby Union podcast: "Commercially, I didn’t think everyone was being represented very well. So I am trying to put together a players’ union. It is not to replace the RPA or to combat the RFU. Honestly, it is nothing of the sort.

"It is just so people can get really good advice from trusted professionals in those specific fields: [for example] around commercial and legal [issues]."

This decision was made as a result of the pay cuts during the pandemic which have not been handled well according to Genge, with many players telling him they have been ‘stitched up’.

He added: "No-one wants to hear you're having a 25 per cent pay cut, but there are bigger powers at play in the world.

"I just feel the way we went about it gave me and a few other people the idea of making it a regular thing. If people need advice on severance packages or any contract advice - and obviously the agents do that - but it's always good to have more support.

"I’ve had a lot of friends in rugby come to me and say ‘I’ve been stitched up with this, or I’ve been shafted with this, or I don’t know how to approach this’. I've thought to myself, why don't we have another union the boys can independently contact?"

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