Mourad Boudjellal is planning to take the IRB to court over payments to players on international duty in a groundbreaking move.
The outspoken Toulon president had already made his feelings clear earlier this season when he complained about having to pay the likes of Bryan Habana, Juán Martín Fernández-Lobbe and Bakkies Botha while they were away at the Rugby Championship.
And he has now revealed that he has the support of Premiership bosses in England ahead of a legal battle with the game’s governing body, who he has accused of an ‘abuse of power’.
“We’re in the process of speaking to our lawyers in Paris to see if we go to commercial or administrative court,” he told Var Matin.
“The IRB rules have no provisions for unions to pay the clubs for their internationals. Yet the IRB is made up of the unions.
“Today, therefore it’s the union who decide that it’s up to the clubs to pay for the internationals. There is a clear abuse of power.
“They decide the rules while the clubs have no say in the decisions on the rules. It’s as if tomorrow a trade union for employers decided to change the working condition of employees, without consulting the employees. It’s not possible.
“There has to be some fairness in this debate. The representatives of the employees should be involved. Like in football, rugby clubs need to have a legal existence on the global stage, to sit at the top table when it comes to decisions and the rugby calendar.
“Everyone is aware of the problem, it just takes some courage to do something about it. On this procedure, I think when I turn around I’ll see there are people behind me. I’ve spoken to the presidents of the English clubs and they were all behind me.
“I don’t want to lead a revolution, just get the rules in line with today’s reality.
“These absurd rules come from the amateur era where they didn’t cause a problem because the players were barely paid and the national team represented a promotion and way of earning more money.
“But if we want rugby to move forward, we need to get up to date and realise it’s 2014.”
- Planet Rugby