Rugby League Players Create their Own Union

January 24, 2012

Rugby League’s 1eague3, the new Super League Players’ Association, was officially launched yesterday as the players followed other sports in creating their own players union.

The Super League Players Association expect to represent 85% of all players in the elite competition.

The organisation, was officially launched in Manchester on Monday night, with St Helens forward Jon Wilkin appointed chairman and joined on the management committee by Leeds prop Jamie Peacock, the England captain.

The new body has already been condemned by the GMB trade union, who claim to represent more than 800 rugby league players and insist they are better placed to cater for the needs of all players.

Ernie Benbow, chief executive of 1eague3, said the decision to form the association was taken after a ballot of 350 Super League players produced a 94% return, of which 329 were in favour and one against.

“The results were quite overwhelming,” he said. “Membership at the moment stands at around 75% of Super League professionals in first-team squads and we still have one club (Catalan Dragons) to deliver a presentation to.

“The aim is to reach 85% which, considering we have come from a standing start, is quite a fantastic achievement. There is clearly an appetite for greater representation from within the sport itself.

“The players within Super League have been the catalyst for 1eague3 and we have now been given a mandate by those who have become members to represent them.”

Most Super League clubs were represented at the launch by delegates, who will form a Player Council to put forward proposals to the management committee.

Benbow said the aim is to provide players with a strong and unified voice and to provide assistance in all aspects of player contracts, health, education, welfare, career and disputes.

The organisation has become members of the Professional Players Assocation, which puts rugby league players on same footing as footballers, cricketers and rugby union players.

Related Discussion: Super league Player’s Association… What took them so long?