The head of the Rugby League Players Association has held talks with IMG and urged them to consider player welfare and get rid of double-headers.
Every team will play twice over the coming Bank Holiday weekend, in some cases with just three-day turnarounds.
Garreth Carvell says such a schedule, which also happens every year over Easter, must become a thing of the past and has put players’ views on the matter across to IMG, who are currently in the process of considering the way forward for the sport as part of a twelve-year partnership with the RFL.
Carvell told League Express: “We’ve had a good meeting; they were really positive. They’re enthusiastic and can see they can make a change. I think it’s exactly what we need.
“I put the points of view from the players and it was really focusing on those games, those weekend double-headers and the number of games that are being played. International players are playing nearly 40 games.”
Carvell says that the sport will be better off if double-headers are consigned to history, and that player welfare isn’t being taken seriously for as long as they remain.
“Having the double-headers, for such a physical collision sport, just doesn’t make sense,” he said.
“What we’ve got to do is look at the game as a whole. Would fewer games, especially having at least a five-day gap between games, benefit the game in terms of the standard? I think it would.
“You’re less likely to get injuries, the game will be quicker as you’re not as fatigued, and it’ll be a better-quality game. The sooner we can get rid of those double headers, the better.
“We talk about welfare and how we’re the sport that best looks after players. We’ve got the concussion protocols, we limit players to so much contact in training sessions through the week, then we decide to put three games on in eight days.
“It goes against the whole idea of player welfare because there’s a lot more contact in a game than in training. It’s money over welfare.
“You’re eking every tiny bit of juice out of the players to make an extra few grand.”
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