GMB AND WOLFPACK REACH AGREEMENT ON PLAYER SALARIES

Friday September 18 – The GMB, the union for Rugby league players and staff, have today reached an agreement with the prospective new owners of Toronto Wolfpack Rugby Club over the issue of outstanding pay. The agreed deal will see 2020 payroll commitments met by new owners if club is accepted back into Super League in 2021.

The club has seen turbulent times in recent months, due to the global COVID19 pandemic which saw Super League suspended, the club unable to access the UK Government loan scheme to Rugby League clubs, and finally the club withdraw from the 2020 league season. [1]

The situation left many of the playing squad unpaid, with some players facing evictions and taking to social media to voice their plight. [2]

The deal will see all player payroll commitments for 2020 will be met in full by the incoming ownership group. These liabilities, which are in excess of £1 million, will ensure that all players suffer no loss in salary.

With a decision imminent on the future participation of the Wolfpack in the Super League competition, both parties heralded the agreement as a major success. GMB have praised the new owners for taking on the 2020 wage bill and are have renewed calls for Super League to reinstate the Canadian franchise for the 2021 Super League. [3]

Bob Hunter, Chairman and CEO of Toronto Wolfpack, said:

“A primary commitment from the prospective new ownership group has been from day 1 to ensure that all player payroll liabilities are met in full and we are very grateful that the Wolf Grooming group have stepped up on this issue when those liabilities are legally the responsibility of the current owner David Argyle.

“We would like to thank GMB representatives for their positive approach during these negotiations, in what has been a very challenging period for the Club and in particular our players.

“We just hope now that we are able to finish the job and our application for a return to Super League is successful so that the players and their families can receive these much-needed funds”

GMB’s Senior Organiser Peter Davies added:

“Our main concern is for the players and their families and this agreement makes good the position financially with all players moving forward.

“Discussions with the Club and the new ownership group have been positive, and we are grateful that the repayment of the 2020 wage bill is a major priority for the incoming group if their reapplication into Super League is successful.

“We have a good relationship with the Super League Clubs which has strengthened throughout the unprecedented challenges in 2020. I have every faith that the right decision will be made on this issue for the benefit of our members and for the good of the game in moving forward.”

Former GB international, Garreth Carvell, GMB’s lead rep for players, commented:

“We understand the game needs to be assured on the financial status of the new ownership group, but I feel the best test of due diligence on the new ownership of the Wolfpack is this agreement to repay the players for their 2020 payroll commitments, a liability which is not even the new owner’s legal responsibility.

“We strongly urge the Super League Clubs to make the right decision for the players and the game and reinstate the Wolfpack to Super League.”

References:

[1] https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-league/53474508

[2] https://www.loverugbyleague.com/post/players-union-says-toronto-wolfpack-situation-is-completely-unacceptable-and-calls-on-rfl-and-super-league-to-act/

[3] https://www.loverugbyleague.com/post/players-union-back-calls-for-central-funding-to-save-toronto-wolfpack/

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