As more details of the financial disagreement between PRO Rugby CEO Doug Schoninger and governing body USA Rugby are emerging, it seems a number of players, coaches and organisers are out of pocket and fuming about the mess that has been left as the tournament seemingly disintegrates.
According to RugbyToday.com, former All Blacks star Mils Muliaina is owed $20,000 by Doug Schoninger:
“Numerous players are owed back pay around the league. One of them is PRO’s biggest name, Mils Muliaina. The 100-cap All Black says Schoninger owes him $20,000. Dan Power and Lou Stanfill, who announced several games throughout the season, say they’re owed thousands of dollars. Vendors are also owed thousands of dollars, including a nonprofit restaurant in Sacramento which exists solely to immerse homeless mothers in the workforce.”
Mils Muliaina is quoted in the article as saying:
“There was a lot said that they didn’t provide.
“Operating out of the back of a van is something that’s unheard of, really. Constantly looking around for fields and being kicked off because you haven’t got a permit, there’s nothing pro in that at all.
“I really actually felt for the people, they were really trying hard to make something like this. I know in America there are pockets of enthusiasts that love the game. Unfortunately, in this instance you’ve got some really bad people trying to run something that they don’t know how to run.”
— Rugby Wrap Up (@RugbyWrapUp) December 24, 2016
Former Director of Rugby Steve Lewis, who left the PRO Rugby organisation earlier in the year has now sued his Schoninger for both his salary and expenses that he claims he is owed:
“He and Schoninger are due in small claims court in February to hash it out. Lewis has also gone to the state’s labor board and filed a grievance with USA Rugby. Paul Keeler, PRO’s West Coast Director of Operations and the former head coach of the now-defunct San Francisco Rush, has also filed with the labor board in California because he says he’s owed in the neighborhood of $14,000 in unpaid salary and expenses.”
The website also claims that Schoninger “owes the IRS more than $141,000 and a law firm more than $34,000.”
It seems the league is quickly collapsing and the fallout from it is particularly disconcerting.
Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena