The English players’ union says it is a “sad day in the history of rugby” as the civil war escalates between players and Premiership clubs over pay.
On Wednesday the Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) warned of legal action after the clubs voted to lower the league’s salary cap.
It comes with the majority of players taking a temporary 25% wage cut because of the coronavirus pandemic.
But in a statement released to The Times on Friday, the clubs criticised the role of the RPA, accusing it of not giving their members “appropriate advice”.
Now the union says the clubs have “personally attacked” players and their representatives, and says the suggestion there was an agreement to make pay cuts permanent is “pure fabrication”.
“Our Players’ Board met on 26 May to receive a formal proposal from PRL regarding the future of the game,” the union said.
“In reality, the proposal was singularly for immediate and permanent pay cuts. Our board voted unanimously against that proposal. To suggest there have been any other agreements in relation to permanent pay cuts is complete fabrication.”
The RPA has played down the threat of strike action, but has again urged independent mediation to resolve the matter.
“This is a resounding example of the players being open to a professional, collaborative and constructive dialogue to help address the future of the game. The offer remains on the table.”