La Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) ha annunciato l’accordo con i suoi “industry stakeholders”, la Rugby Football Union (RFU) e Premiership Rugby, per un “funding deal”. Per i prossimi cinque anni, un minimo di £7m verranno versati e devoluti per il “RPA welfare, personal development and education programmes” a sostegno degli attuali 650 e oltre 350 ex membri della RPA.
Il CEO dell’RPA Group, Damian Hopley, ha così commentato l’accordo: “This long-term funding deal gives us the security to build on the very strong foundations that we have established over the last 17 years as one of the most progressive Players’ Associations in Europe. One of the key objectives of English rugby is to provide outstanding welfare, support and development programmes to all of our past, present and future members in order to give them the best opportunity to maximise their on and off field potential. By working closely with the RFU and the Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs, we are confident that we will take this support to unprecedented levels. I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to the RFU and Premiership Rugby as well as my Board and the members for their continued support of the essential work we conduct for the players and the game.”
Il seconda linea dei Northampton Saints, Christian Day, presidente della RPA, si è detto “entusiasta per l’accordo (…) che sarà una pietra miliare per il lavoro futuro della RPA”. “We have also negotiated an enhanced Standard Contract that will provide greater protection and security at a time when scrutiny is, quite rightly, being focused on player welfare. We as players know that player welfare must be a huge priority for our sport. We will be working closely with all of the game’s stakeholders to see what more can be done to continually improve conditions for the health and safety of our members.”
Interessante, nell’ottica della salvaguardia della salute dei giocatori, il commento del Professional Rugby Director della RFU, Rob Andrew. ”Support for existing and former players is paramount and we are delighted that this deal has been achieved. Player welfare in all its forms, be it safety, health, education or preparing for life after rugby, is a priority for everyone in the game and we are confident that this agreement will help the RPA continue to deliver and enhance their programmes.”
Mark McCafferty, Chief Executive of Premiership Rugby, ha aggiunto: “Continued investment by the clubs in all aspects of welfare for their players is fundamental to the long term strength and vibrancy of the English professional game. We’ve worked closely with the RPA over many years to develop the support programmes which are now an increasingly key factor for professional players in England. We welcome the new agreement which will allow all parties to continue to develop these over the next few years”.
(interviste: comunicato ufficiale Ufficio Stampa Premiership Rugby)