ITALY’S Rugby World Cup preparations have been thrown into disarray after the Azzurri were forced to suspend their pre-tournament training camp due to a player strike over bonuses.
The players are demanding a match-by-match bonus scheme whereas Italian Rugby Federation (FIR) bosses are refusing to budge on their proposals for a one-off bonus payment linked to tournament performance.
Italy’s squad have said they will not participate in training or wear FIR sports equipment until an economic agreement has been reached. An initial 40-man squad had gathered for their camp, which was set to take place between 14 June and 3 July, in Bolzano.
“The Italian Rugby Federation has taken note of the willingness expressed last night by the players not to take part in the training and not to wear sports equipment until reaching economic agreement,” read an FIR statement.
“The stance does not change the will of the Federal Council – fully shared by the staff of the national team – to reach a financial settlement with the players based not on mere participation in international windows but on concrete meritocratic principles related to performance.”