Manu Tuilagi leaves Leicester Tigers amid wage cuts
Kyle Eastmond, Telusa Veainu, Greg Bateman, and Noel Reid also leave after failing to agree to a 25 per cent wage cut for the 2020-21 season
Last Updated: 15/08/20 9:20pm
Manu Tuilagi is among six players who have left Leicester Tigers after failing to agree reduced wage packages amid financial challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Tigers revealed on Wednesday that the pandemic has cost them approximately £5m in revenue and they had asked players to take a 25 per cent pay cut for the 2020-21 season.
Despite Tuilagi having signed a new contract with Leicester in 2019 - after French side Racing 92 had registered their interest in him - the 29-year-old failed to reach an agreement to stay with the East Midlands club.
Leicester chief executive Andrea Pinchen confirmed on Wednesday evening that Tuilagi will leave, along with Kyle Eastmond, Telusa Veainu, Greg Bateman, and Noel Reid. Jordan Taufua is also expected to depart Welford Road.
"There is no blame game here," Pinchen said in an interview on the club's website. "This is people we're talking about. Everyone has their own circumstances and everyone has their own thoughts about what they can and can't do or will and won't do."
On Wednesday, the club said in a statement: "The players were asked to accept reduced wages and, following feedback, we created a mechanism through which a proportion of forgone earnings could be reclaimed when the club returns to profitability.
"At the same time, salaries of lower-paid players beginning their professional careers were protected. In common with other club employees, these changes resulted from detailed explanations of the club's financial position and the necessity of the measures being taken.
"Our focus throughout this crisis has been to put the club first and to ensure the long-term sustainability and competitiveness of Tigers.
"The vast majority of players fully support our recovery plans and will be working with Geordan Murphy and Steve Borthwick on the way forward, beginning with the phased return to training and proposed resumption of the 2019-20 season."
Leicester have estimated the impact of rugby being halted and believe up to 31 members of staff could be made redundant.
Leicester have made use of the government furlough scheme, but on Wednesday concluded a redundancy process which could see numerous staff leave.
"The club's commercial activities have felt the pandemic's impact more than most Premiership Rugby clubs, given the size of its stadium and fan base," the club statement continued.
"To date, the club has missed out on approximately £5m of revenues since it was last able to host matchdays or events at Welford Road.
"The board recognises and is grateful for the significant sacrifices made across the club's community to ensure a sustainable long-term financial footing for Tigers.
"Fans have kept season ticket money in the club and sponsors have continued to be supportive."