Exclusive: Super League stars ask RFL to create retirement fund to support players

Aaron Bower
Matt Peet, World Club trophy

Several leading Super League players have asked the Rugby Football League to consider implementing a fund that will enable retiring players to access much-needed money as they transition away from life as a professional, Love Rugby League has been told.

Last week, a number of the competition’s top players held a call with senior officials from the Rugby Football League where, among other issues, the disciplinary controversy that has plagued Super League across the opening weeks of the season was high on the agenda.

But several other matters were also brought to the table including, Love Rugby League understands, a request from one senior player to consider creating a fund that would essentially allow players to boost their income when their career as a professional comes to an end.

The retirement pot concept would essentially see a set sum added to the account every year, with the proposed total understood to be around £50,000 per annum. That would then enable any player retiring at the end of a year to be able to access funds to prepare them for life away from rugby league, or life away from playing the game at the very least.

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However, there are a number of sticking points to the idea which make it unlikely to be adopted in the short-term. First and foremost, it was envisaged by the players that the money added to the pot each and every year would be contributed by the RFL themselves. However, that seems highly unlikely given how the governing body are not awash with cash.

There was a suggestion that a small percentage of the players’ salaries could be taken to essentially create the retirement fund but as things stand, that also seems unlikely.

The idea has not completely been removed from the table, and is likely to be raised again in future meetings as players look to ensure they are properly protected and ready to transition away from the game when their careers draw to a close.

The meeting was attended by the likes of St Helens prop Alex Walmsley, Leigh Leopards captain John Asiata, Castleford’s Joe Westerman and Salford Red Devils star Ryan Brierley, with RFL official Robert Hicks describing it as “constructive” last week.

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