USA Rugby’s first professional league has been scrapped a mere eight months after it launched in April this year.
Rugby Today reports PRO Rugby owner and CEO Doug Schoninger has blamed USA Rugby for the state of affairs after all the players were informed their contracts were being terminated.
Schoninger claims the national governing body failed to protect PRO’s exclusive sanctioning rights and the decision comes after he had a long meeting with USA Rugby CEO Dan Payne in New York last week.
In a letter to the PRO rugby players, Schoninger wrote he hoped PRO and USA Rugby would be able to resolve the matter in the next month, which is the termination clause period in the players’ contracts.
While players should be paid while they’re still employed over the next 30 days, receiving two more paychecks, most were contracted for 12 months and will lose out on money they’ve already earned. The league year officially ends March 13, 2017, leaving contracted players light more than two months’ pay.
Below is the full letter Schoninger sent to the players:
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.
Photo credit: PRO Rugby USA