USA Rugby's first professional league, PRO Rugby, is defunct after eight months

Jamie Mackintosh played for the Ohio Aviators.
Robyn Edie/ Fairfax NZ

Jamie Mackintosh played for the Ohio Aviators.

USA Rugby's first professional league is defunct less than a year after it kicked off.

PRO Rugby was unveiled as the United States' first professional rugby league, with the competition beginning in April.

But American rugby website, Rugby Today, report that the league is obsolete - eight months after its first game - following a meeting in New York last week between PRO Rugby CEO, Doug Schoninger, and USA Rugby CEO, Dan Payne. 

Schoninger has blamed USA Rugby for the league's failings, after informing the players that their contracts were to be terminated.

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One-cap All Black Jamie Mackintosh joined the Ohio Aviators in March and played for them 11 times, scoring five tries, before returning to French club Montpellier.

San Francisco Rush - one of the competition's five teams with Denver Stampede, Ohio Aviators, Sacramento Express and San Diego Breakers - folded last week and the competition year was supposed to officially run through until March of next year.

Schoninger said in a statement that he was hoping to resolve the issues between USA Rugby and PRO Rugby, and that players, who were mostly contracted for 12 months, would be employed over the next 30 days.

But he added that most players would lose out on money they've already earned.

Doug Schoninger's letter to PRO Rugby players is below:

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PRO Rugby Players,

As some of you may or may not know, we have been having serious issues with the cooperation and the enforcement of our agreement with USA Rugby. We have been actively trying to resolve our issues with USA Rugby for over four months and, unfortunately, it appears that USA Rugby will not honor the commitments they made to us.

Because of this, we are notifying all presently agreed players of PRO Rugby that we are exercising the Voluntary Termination clause in your contract (section 5(b)). We are hopeful, but with no assurances, that we will be able to resolve all issues with USA Rugby prior to end of the termination clause period. We will keep you up to date with any progress or news as it becomes available.

Please remember, until the end of the termination clause you are still an employee of PRO Rugby and all duties and obligations should be adhered to.

Because of the above, payment for the period ending on December 15th was delayed.  These payments will be issued tomorrow, December 21st for receipt no later than December 22, 2016.

I am very sorry that we were forced to take this action and we are trying to do everything we can to ensure that PRO Rugby, its players, coaches, and employees are all treated fairly.

Doug Schoninger

 - Stuff

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