By Maximilian Clarke

GMB, the union which represents over 800 rugby league players, has publicly denounced the launch of Rugby League ‘breakaway’ group, 1eague3.

Geoff Burrow, the Union’s Rugby League Players’ Association head has said that he is ‘disappointed’ with the launch.

“I am accusing those behind it of trying to create an elitist organization that has no experience, no skills or any back-up to look after players’ interests,” said Burrow.

“1eague3 say they want to bring rugby league players in line with footballers, but this alone shows their total lack of knowledge and experience, as footballers from all leagues are members of their union, not just the Premier League!

“And I would question exactly what players will get for their £10 per month to this breakaway body.”

GMB has put 300 of Rugby League members through training courses, subjects as diverse as gym instructors, personal trainers and even cookery so that we equip players to have a profession to turn to when their playing career comes to an end. This doesn’t cost them a penny and that’s truly looking after players’ interests.”

Tim Roache, GMB Regional Secretary added “GMB has secured half a million pounds in compensation on contractual and playing disputes in the last 2 years alone. Much of that work has been done by our union’s employment experts. How on earth is a breakaway body, with no experience or track record, going to match that?

“Jamie Peacock and Jon Wilkin should be honest with the players they are trying to recruit and accept they have no money, no back-up and no structure to look after them and they will be walking them over a cliff. GMB has asked both Jon and Jamie to become GMB representatives, especially as they are both still members, rather than trying to set up a splinter organisation. All that will do is divide us all and play into the hands of those who want to get players on the cheap.”

“Despite this launch the GMB’s rugby playing membership continues to increase, as does the number of players who are now union representatives.”

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