Players union boss reveals the impact of furloughing on rugby league stars

Players union boss Garreth Carvell has revealed the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on Super League stars – saying they share the same concerns as the general public.

The majority of top flight players have now been placed on furlough leave, but not all clubs are in a position to top their wages up fully.

Former Great Britain prop Carvell has been acting as bridge between clubs and players in his role as GMB’s head rep, and says the lower wages in rugby league mean they are a world away from millionaires in other sports.

Carvell explained: “Rugby league players are no different to most people at the moment. The concern for everyone is pay, and most people in any walk of life have been affected.

”Rugby league players and the game aren’t immune to what’s happened, and unfortunately they are in the same boat.

“The main thing has been getting everybody on the furlough, which GMB were instrumental in and has been put in place by the government to help kick-start  the economy when this is over.

“Although that is great, there are rugby league players paid slightly higher than the threshold and they have concerns about what top ups there will be, if any, at their clubs. That will come down to each individual club, they all have a unique set of circumstances.

“It’s actually some of the traditionally not as well off clubs that are better equipped to deal with this. It’s harder for the bigger clubs with lots of staff and different income streams.

“There’s a lot of anxiety for some players, and we’re communicating the best we can to keep them updated and hopefully relieve that anxiety.

“If players don’t know what’s going on then they can listen to a lot of the rumours and fabrication that gets put about. If we can get that information to them then that quashes those.”

Carvell says that rugby league players may have to turn to emergency financial measures put in place recently.

He added: “We’ve informed them all about the mortgage and car loan deferrals available to them, because we all know that there are more inevitable cuts coming, to what extent we’re not sure.

“There has to be an element of trust between the clubs and players and hopefully we can be the middle ground for that.

“We want to keep everybody as positive as possible and in the right frame of mind, because after this has finished there will still be a season to finish. They need to stay fit and have a good commitment to their club, and we’re facilitating that communication.”

Carvell also made reference to the recent comments made by Leeds chief executive Gary Hetherington surrounding player welfare and the possibility of regular midweek matches once the season restarts.

Carvell added: “All the players realise the scale of the issues but have found some comments suggesting they would whine and moan very disrespectful.

“Players are a huge part of the game and therefore should be allowed to voice their views and have them heard. To suggest those views are whines is absurd – we’re all in this together and we all need to show each other respect.”

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