Yorkshire Carnegie players could boycott Doncaster Knights derby over pay fears

Beleaguered Yorkshire Carnegie players could boycott Sunday’s home Championship derby against Doncaster Knights after being told their cash-strapped club may not be able to pay them.

Yorkshire Carnegie in action against Jersey Reds in February (Picture: Varleys)

The former Premiership club, who once faced Europe’s finest in the Heineken Cup, announced on Tuesday they would become part-time in 2019-20 after failing to secure crucial squad-building investment. However, it has emerged there are also fears money may run out even before the end of this term, with three fixtures still remaining.

One first-team player, who wished to remain anonymous, told The Yorkshire Post: “In Tuesday’s meeting – as well as cuts for next season – they told us they’re £300,000 short in terms of being able to pay us for THIS year.

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“They wouldn’t even tell us what the monthly wage bill is so we knew how much that (£300,000) would cover. We’re all due three more pay cheques but don’t have any idea when or even if they’re coming.

“We’ve spoken between ourselves about the options.

“We might have to boycott the game on Sunday and, in all honesty, I don’t think we will play; we’ve just been told we’re not going to get paid...

“The club says they’ll get the money to pay us but I really don’t see how. They’ve been trying to get this investment for ages for next season and failed.”

After signing eight new players before Christmas, many on 18-month contracts with a view of pushing for promotion next term, improving Carnegie have risen from bottom up to sixth.

Yorkshire Carnegie defeated Premiership-bound London Irish last month but will be playing part-time next season (Picture Jonathan Gawthorpe)

The player added: “We’ve been going so well. I genuinely feel we could have challenged to go up (next season).

“I think they did have a plan for funding but it was literally a verbal plan; there was nothing put in place. It was basically a plan on dreams and it’s swung the polar opposite way of how they wanted.

“People will leave now. I think everyone will; there’s no attraction to Carnegie and for anyone to sign would be ludicrous.

“They’ve alluded to a budget of £650,000 next season. This year it was around £2.3m. They’re £300,000 short of paying us this year and the salaries of those eight contracted players for next aren’t even covered by the budget. There’s only one outcome in my eyes. It’s crazy. The best thing about the club is the players, staff and the rugby programme.

“The only thing the club has as an asset is those things and that’s what the club is now going to tarnish.

“The future for Yorkshire Carnegie is only going to get worse and I don’t see them being a Championship team for much longer.”