Ellis Genge demands urgent overhaul of ‘outdated, weird and mad’ rugby contracts

The England prop thinks the current deals on offer are inadequate in the modern game.

Ellis Genge boxes with the pads during a training session at Twickenham
Ellis Genge boxes with the pads during a training session at Twickenham

England prop Ellis Genge has called for rugby’s archaic contracts to be updated as a matter of urgency.

Genge has had to abandon plans to start a new players’ union called Rugby Players Epoch, an idea born out of the chaotic negotiations that took place in April when clubs enforced 25 per cent pay cuts on their squads.

But leaving a lasting impression from that period is the inadequacy of contracts which have survived unchanged for decades.

“They’re so outdated. You’ve still got contracts from 20 years ago and the game has changed monumentally. You can imagine some of the weird stuff written in them,” Genge said.

“For us as a game to get off the ground… you see football, there are so many intricacies in their contracts and the way they are written, some of the mad clauses.

“Everyone in rugby has the exact same contract, unless there’s a match bonus, and in France it’s a bit different with houses and cars, but here it’s the exact same contract.

“The only thing that is different is the figure which is crazy because every player is different. They should be able to open it up and really get creative with it.”

Genge wanted to set up an alternative to the Rugby Players Association due to his concern that the current body representing players is compromised by receiving the majority of its funding from the Rugby Football Union.

Genge does some boxing practice during England training at Twickenham
Genge does some boxing practice during England training at Twickenham (Adam Davy/PA)

The Leicester loosehead felt that players needed better commercial and legal advice in the wake of the 25 per cent reductions.

“Hopefully it’ll spark a conversation. I knew I wasn’t going to take over the world with it,” Genge said.

“I was saying it was right time to do something, it started a few fires and hopefully they grow but people just didn’t want to see it get off the ground in the higher echelons of the game and I just grew tired of it.

“That’s dead in the water from my point of view but if there’s someone out there who wants to give it a crack, it’s a great venture.

“It would probably have to be someone post-sport who isn’t involved directly so they can speak freely.”

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