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Specialist lawyers at national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP have worked alongside the Rugby Players’ Association (RPA) to help secure protective award compensation for rugby players affected by sudden redundancy.

Following the collapse of Worcester Warriors, Wasps and London Irish, a successful employment tribunal was brought by the RPA on behalf of 167 members, made up of players and non-playing staff, who were made redundant with no notice.

The tribunal found that the clubs failed to consult with their employees prior to making the redundancies and resulted in the highest possible protective award compensation being awarded to employees at all three clubs.

Tim Copplestone, a partner at Clarke Willmott and specialist in sports employment law, assisted the RPA with the process.

He said: “We’re delighted with the outcome for the players and staff affected by these very sudden redundancies, which left many in an extremely vulnerable position.

“Protective award compensation is given when an employer does not consult with employees before making them redundant. With all three clubs having suffered insolvency events, the payment of the protective award compensation is made by the National Insurance Fund.

“The compensation will not make up for the sudden loss of employment and income but hopefully it will aid those affected while they look ahead to the future.”

RPA’s player welfare director, Rich Bryan, said: “The RPA team has left no stone unturned in providing its support to its members in the lead up to and following the demise of Worcester, Wasps and London Irish. We have provided legal advice at every turn, mental health support, one-to-one player development manager support and career transition support, to name just a few areas. I am incredibly grateful to all of our team members who were absolutely committed to meeting this incredible challenge posed by three Premiership clubs disappearing in one season.

“Pursuing the protective award claims on behalf of our members was just another example of the RPA demonstrating how essential our service is. The compensation is capped and so players will not receive all of the money owed to them by the clubs and nothing can fully compensate players, staf and fans for what was lost but we hope this compensation will, in some way, help the players.”

Clarke Willmott has worked with the RPA and provided legal advice for its members for a number of years.

A national law firm with offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton, the firm is this year celebrating its 135th anniversary.