Another club-versus-country row is looming in the Guinness Premiership after it was alleged teams are docking England players' wages.
Although Premiership clubs are reimbursed per member they provide to England’s Elite Play Squads according to the terms of the 2008 deal between the RFU and Premier Rugby Limited, clubs stand accused of deducting a week’s wages or a percentage of their England match fee every time their stars are away on international duty.
The Rugby Players Association have already been engaged in negotiations with the RFU regarding over summer tour fees for England’s 44-man squad.
But chief executive Damian Hopley is prepared to go to engage in another battle to protect his members’ interests.
“It is an absolute disgrace that clubs are penalising the elite players because of their success and trying to dock their wages,” Hopley told the Rugby Paper.
“I am writing to the league on that basis. At first we did not realise how widespread it was but agents kept getting in touch with us and we are seriously concerned at the breadth of the practice.
“It is absolutely immoral for players who are generating money for their clubs through their EPS status to have money taken away for their own success.
“If a club receives money for an EPS player then they are being compensated. Sometimes clubs want it all their own way but this is not on.
“We will be taking it up with the league in the strongest possible manner.”