Super League’s restart in August could be under threat because of player unrest over continued pay cuts, says Warrington prop Mike Cooper.
Only three teams are believed to have been able to reach an agreement on wage structures with their players for when the season resumes.
That leaves nine clubs unable to return to training prior to the restart until they can negotiate deals with players.
At present the season is expected to restart on 2 August.
The 12 Super League owners had a tacit agreement to continue pay cuts of between 10-15% – introduced when the season was suspended and income streams began to dry up – until the end of 2020.
But the BBC understands that at least one club, Hull FC, have agreed to pay their players in full from October at the latest, and that has led to unrest among players at other clubs who want similar deals.
The issue has been added to the agenda of a Super League meeting on Wednesday, with several owners and chief executives believed to be frustrated by Hull FC’s unilateral stance.
Warrington’s Cooper has aired his views on the situation.
Speaking on the Micky & Woody Show, an online programme hosted by former Warrington players Paul Wood and Micky Higham, Cooper said: “I think there are only three teams who have agreed what their pay is going to be.
“So they’re talking about us playing in two weeks and there are only three clubs that have agreed to return to training. As it stands right now, there is no competition.”
No decision yet on promotion and relegation
Meanwhile, governing body the Rugby Football League has again delayed a decision on whether promotion and relegation should be scrapped this year, and also whether the Championship and League One campaigns can restart.
Top-tier clubs are pushing for relegation to be suspended for 2020, saying it would be unfair given the integrity of the competition has been damaged, with Toronto unlikely to be able to play any home games and with many other fixtures being played on neutral venues and behind closed doors.
However, the RFL says that no definitive decision can be taken yet, with circumstances constantly changing.
They have put off making a final decision on the promotion and relegation issue and whether the Championship and League One seasons can restart until 23 July at the latest – just over a week before the Super League season is planned to kick off again.
“We recognise that further important decisions are necessary in terms of the tiers below Super League, and promotion and relegation, and that there is urgency in making these decisions, which is why we have set some firm deadlines to ensure clarity well before the resumption of the Super League season on 2 August,” RFL chair Simon Johnson said.
Meanwhile, the RFL board has agreed to adopt proposed rule changes for the resumption of the 2020 season, which had been recommended by June’s meeting of the Laws Committee, all with a specific intent of protecting the welfare of players, and mitigating risk.
Those changes include the suspension of scrums and the adoption of the ‘six again’ rule that has recently been introduced to the NRL.