Three Queensland Reds players, Izack Rodda, Isaac Lucas, and Harry Hockings have been suspended after refusing a pay reduction.
Rugby Australia (RA) and the Rugby Union Players’ Association (RUPA) finalised a new pay deal last month due to the COVID-19 pandemic forcing Super Rugby and all international rugby to be suspended.
Rodda, Lucas and Hockings all refused the pay deal and their nomination for the Australian federal government’s JobKeeper subsidy, according to a statement released by the Queensland Rugby Union (QRU).
QRU chief executive, David Hanham, said this is an unexpected situation after the pay deal was agreed to by the RUPA and RA.
“Many industries in Australia are facing the same circumstances as sport in this country and the majority of our people have agreed to reduced hours under the federal JobKeeper legislation, which is assisting businesses such as ours through the COVID-19 pandemic,” Hanham said.
“We understand this situation is difficult for everyone and individual decisions need to be made to protect the long-term viability of rugby in Queensland.
“As we have outlined before, these conditions are necessary at present and allow the QRU to create a financial bridge to the other side of this pandemic.
“Unfortunately, we have had to take the decision to stand down three of our players.
“Given the recent negotiated player-payment reduction agreement, this was not a situation the QRU had expected to face.
“As we build towards the likely resumption of community and elite rugby, the QRU remains focused and on track to deliver on its three goals during the COVID-19 period, to ensure the health and safety of our people, to protect the financial viability of the QRU, and to ensure the safety and viability of our clubs,” he said.
According to the QRU, the players are now looking at their legal position after being stood down, but the QRU is hopeful a resolution can be found before legal action is taken.