British & Irish Lions

Warren Gatland: Clubs don't need more money to release players for Lions duty

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Warren Gatland (Getty)
Warren Gatland (Getty)

Warren Gatland has questioned the sense of English clubs demanding additional compensation for releasing their players for the British and Irish Lions pre-tour training camp.

Gatland's squad will spend 10 days in Jersey in advance of their preparation Test against Japan at Murrayfield on 26 June. They depart for South Africa for an eight-fixture itinerary culminating in a series against the world champions.

The Lions are in negotiation with England's clubs, who are represented by Premiership Rugby, to secure an early release of their players if they are not involved in the play-offs.

So far, an agreement has proved elusive and Gatland has intensified his war of words with the Premiership by criticising their pursuit of money.

"There was obviously money paid for the Scottish players to play France in the Six Nations recently," Gatland said.

"I don't know what the figure is, but I would presume there was financial compensation.

"We're all in a situation where with the issue of fans not attending, that for the Lions it doesn't look like we'll be on the positive side of the balance sheet.

"It looks like the Lions are going to lose money, so we're all in the same boat. I don't know why everything has to come down to dollar signs.

"The Lions have been brilliant at compensating clubs in the past and I know that's the plan again for clubs who have players who do get selected. They get a significant fee for their release to go on tour.

"I don't think it's unreasonable to ask for players to come in to help our preparation once they've finished with their club side. I don't know why there has to be an extra payment for that."

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