Strike action a viable option in dispute over elongated season, says RPA boss Damian Hopley

Ross McLean
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Hopley has said that players do not want to disengage supporters (Source: Getty)

Strike action is a viable option in the debate regarding an elongated 10-month domestic season, according to Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) chief executive Damian Hopley.

England’s top-flight have proposed a schedule that would see the Premiership campaign run from September to June as part of negotiations for a new global calendar, which is set to take effect from August 2020.

With international tours suggested for July, national team players would face an 11-month season, leading to England stars Billy Vunipola, Ben Youngs and Joe Marler floating the possibility of industrial action. Hopley has echoed those sentiments.

“Strike action is the ultimate sanction, but the last people the players would want to disengage or disavow would be the fans,” said Hopley, speaking at the Leaders in Sport summit at Stamford Bridge yesterday.

“It’s obviously an option, but there’s enough common sense and grey hair around the table to try and find the right solution. I think we’re all crying out for less, rather than more at the moment.

“We’re very keen to navigate a way through this and find a solution which will work for everyone.”

Representatives from the Rugby Football Union, Premiership Rugby, the RPA and Championship clubs are set to discuss the matter at next month’s Professional Game board meeting.

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