England's Genge wants new players' union after coronavirus pay cuts

England's Ellis Genge said he had players contacting him looking for advice regarding the implementation of coronavirus wage cuts. Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images

England prop Ellis Genge has called for a new, more independent players' union amid dissatisfaction among fellow professionals about how pay cuts have been handled by clubs and rugby authorities during the coronavirus pandemic.

Genge said the Rugby Players' Association (RPA), founded in 1998, is reluctant to "bite the hand that feeds" as it receives funding from the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Premiership Rugby (PRL) and players got a raw deal over recent pay cuts.

"I do feel people were poorly advised (about wage reductions), people were advised from the off to sign the contracts without reading them, almost," he told the BBC's Rugby Union Weekly podcast.

"Commercially, I didn't think everyone was being represented very well," the 25-year-old explained, adding that he did not want to replace the RPA.

Capped 18 times by his country, Genge took legal advice after being asked to take a 25% pay reduction by his club Leicester Tigers, and the issue has since been resolved.

Several Premiership clubs negotiated 25% pay reductions with players, including recently relegated Saracens, to protect finances during the coronavirus pandemic.

"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,'" he said.

"I've thought to myself, why don't we have another union the boys can independently contact?

"I do think it is time to shake up the rugby scene, and look after players, commercially, and in every aspect, a lot better."

The Premiership has been suspended indefinitely with the rest of England's domestic leagues cancelled.