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Rugby bodies agree player welfare deal

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The Rugby Players' Association (RPA) today announced a new multi-year funding deal with its industry stakeholders, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) and Premiership Rugby.The new five-year deal will deliver a minimum of £7m into the RPA welfare, personal development and education programmes that supports the 650 current and more than 350 former RPA members.   Damian Hopley , RPA Group CEO, , commented: “This long-term funding deal gives us the security to build on the very strong foundations that we have established over the last 17 years as one of the most progressive players’ associations in Europe.   “One of the key objectives of English rugby is to provide outstanding welfare, support and development programmes to all of our past, present and future members in order to give them the best opportunity to maximise their on and off-field potential.   “By working closely with the RFU and the Aviva Premiership Rugby clubs, we are confident that we will take this support to unprecedented levels. I would like to place on record my sincere thanks to the RFU and Premiership Rugby as well as my Board and the members for their continued support of the essential work we conduct for the players and the game.”   Mark McCafferty, Premiership Rugby chief executive, said: “Continued investment by the clubs in all aspects of welfare for their players is fundamental to the long term strength and vibrancy of the English professional game.   “We've worked closely with the RPA over many years to develop the support programmes which are now an increasingly key factor for professional players in England. We welcome the new agreement which will allow all parties to continue to develop these over the next few years.”   Rob Andrew, RFU professional rugby director, said: "Support for existing and former players is paramount and we are delighted that this deal has been achieved.   “Player welfare in all its forms, be it safety, health, education or preparing for life after rugby,  is a priority for everyone in the game and we are confident that this agreement will help the RPA continue to deliver and enhance their programmes.”