Sergio Parisse has led a backlash on social media towards FIR president Alfredo Gavazzi after he described them as "pensioners."
Italy slumped to 15th in the World Rankings following the Six Nations, with Gavazzi lashing out at his players by claiming that he was "fed up of the pensioners" and "it's not my fault that we're now 15th in the world."
Parisse sent out a tweet with Gavazzi's outburst followed by #portacirespetto (give us respect), with the hashtag picked up by over a dozen Azzurri players along with many supporters.
Marco Bortolami, Luca Morisi, Robert Barbieri, Leonardo Ghiraldini, Alessandro Zanni, Tommaso Allan, Luke McLean, Luciano Orquera, Giamba Venditti, Kelly Haimona, Martin Castrogiovanni, Edoardo Gori and more all tweeted the same message from their accounts.
Gavazzi spoke to the press last week proposing some changes to the match fees for his players. Currently each player receives 6500 euros, but the FIR president suggested they should only be paid if they win their match.
Head coach Jacques Brunel was unable to comment, telling AFP that he "was not aware" of the movement from his players.
The news hardly comes at a helpful time for Italy after their poor form over the last two years, having won only four of their last 23 Test matches.
Italy did however finish fifth in this year's Six Nations, avoiding bottom spot after defeating Scotland at Murrayfield.