Today saw an exchange on the Internet Exchange Between Pro Rugby and USA Rugby paints a bleak picture for Year 2 of the fledgling league. Here is that exchange:
PRO Rugby Players,
As some of you may or may not know, we have been having serious issues with the cooperation and the enforcement of our agreement with USA Rugby. We have been actively trying to resolve our issues with USA Rugby for over four months and, unfortunately, it appears that USA Rugby will not honor the commitments they made to us
Because of this, we are notifying all presently agreed players of PRO Rugby that we are exercising the Voluntary Termination clause in your contract (section 5(b)). We are hopeful, but with no assurances, that we will be able to resolve all issues with USA Rugby prior to end of the termination clause period. We will keep you up to date with any progress or news as it becomes available.
Please remember, until the end of the termination clause you are still an employee of PRO Rugby and all duties and obligations should be adhered to.
Because of the above, payment for the period ending on December 15th was delayed. These payments will be issued tomorrow, December 21st for receipt no later than December 22, 2016.
I am very sorry that we were forced to take this action and we are trying to do everything we can to ensure that PRO Rugby, its players, coaches, and employees are all treated fairly.
(Letter posted by Pat Clifton on Rugby Today)
USA Rugby replied with this statement:
For Immediate Release
Submitted by USA Rugby
December 20, 2016
LAFAYETTE, Colo. – USA Rugby categorically denies any and all allegations purported by PRO Rugby Tuesday, Dec. 20, and is saddened to hear of the planned termination of all valid contracts signed by athletes that have fulfilled their playing duties for season one and were scheduled to be paid through the duration of their 12-month contracts.
USA Rugby’s policy is to not speak to disputes in the media, and will have no further comments regarding this particular issue at this time.
Nick Sero | Manager, Communications and Digital Media | USA Rugby | email@example.com
This prompted Pro Rugby to issue this response:
PRO Rugby is equally sadden[ed] by our announcement of today. Unfortunately, due to issues beyond our control, we were forced to activate the voluntary termination clause in our player’s agreements. We are hoping for a productive resolution as soon as possible.
PRO Rugby would like to clarify that we are still planning a competition for 2017. We are still very passionate about the growth of the game in the USA and we believe we can grow the game and opportunities for USA players to levels not even imaginable just years ago.
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