Rugby players go unpaid, with Valke facing financial collapse

Second-tier professional rugby team, the East Rand-based Valke, cannot pay its contracted players as the provincial franchise buckles under the financial pressure of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The MyPlayers union confirmed on Sunday the Valke players had not been paid their salaries last month, with the organisation struggling to stay afloat as domestic rugby remained suspended under government lockdown regulations.

Eugene Henning, the CEO of the players' union, and Valke CEO Ettienne de Lange had informed the members of the elite rugby squad in a virtual meeting on Friday that they would not be paid for July.

"Going forward, the focus is now to support the players," MyPlayers said in a statement.

The Valke players had been offered debt counselling assistance, support with UIF applications, access to legal advice and assistance with creditors.

MyPlayers also confirmed they would receive "immediate relief for their day-to-day household needs" through the union's hardship fund.

"In the coming days, MyPlayers will work closely with De Lange, the management of the Valke company, as well as the union to resolve the matter and ensure payments are made to the players," the union said.

"Following those conversations, MyPlayers will again meet with the players on Tuesday morning."

The Valke team lifted the Vodacom Cup trophy in 2006.

Though they do not feature in the top-tier Currie Cup Premier Division or Super Rugby competitions, they reached the semifinals of the Currie Cup First Division competition last season.

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