On Wednesday night, Welsh rugby players planned and executed a walk-out during a sponsors event, as part of an ongoing dispute over contracts with their bosses. The players, who are members of the Wales Six Nations squad, were required to attend the event at the Parkgate Hotel in Cardiff, which was organized for sponsors and box holders at the Principality Stadium. According to reports, the players stayed at the event for an hour before leaving early, in what was a premeditated move.
Earlier that day, senior Welsh players had a meeting with Nigel Walker, the interim chief executive of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU), where they were informed that the proposed new financial and contract model was necessary for the sustainability of the game. The players reportedly gave the Welsh rugby bosses a deadline of next Wednesday to resolve the contract issue and made three demands: removing the 60-cap rule, eliminating the fixed-variable element from contracts (which accounts for 20% of salaries), and allowing players to attend Professional Rugby Board meetings.
The uncertainty over the contract situation has led to discussions of strike action before the England game. More than 70 players across the four regions do not know if they will have a contract for the next season, and even those who do face reduced terms, including a fixed-variable contract on a lower salary with bonuses for wins and appearances. Given the challenging outlook for the next few years, some players view these clauses as unrealistic and insulting. They are also unhappy that only players will be taking pay cuts, while executives and coaches will not.