Worcester Warriors

Worcester co-owner: Our budget is on the £7m salary cap limit

Worcester Warriors co-owner Jason Whittingham has reiterated the team’s budget flirts with the £7m threshold laid down by Premiership Rugby regulations.

Warriors have faced accusations of not making full use of the salary cap, after being marooned in the lower half of the Premiership standings since their return from the Championship in 2015.

In an interview with Worcester News, Whittingham addressed the misconception and said Worcester would remain at the threshold once the regulations lower the cap to £5m from the 2021-22 season.

“Whatever people think about Worcester, we spend up to the salary cap,” Whittingham said.

“There is a misconception that we don’t.

“We do and we continue to do so, we are already committed to the majority of the squad now until the end of next season.

“At that point the salary cap comes down and by virtue of that we will be spending less as a club but that is only in line with every other club.”

With Francois Hougaard expected to return to South Africa this summer and Duncan Weir’s departure to Glasgow Warriors already confirmed, funds have been freed up for the team which re-signed Ted Hill, Ollie Lawrence and Melani Nanai to extensions in 2020.

Hougaard is in with a shot of a homecoming at the Bulls, for who played seven seasons of Super Rugby for before joining Worcester in 2016.

Premiership clubs began negotiations with the RPA last May and June to agree wage cuts with players.

RPA chief executive Damian Hopley told TRP earlier this month of wage budget restructuring: “There are some clubs who wouldn’t change a thing and others who definitely would, but it’s no surprise that the clubs that acted quickly and effectively continued the success they had.

“When you look at how the Exeters and Bristols behaved – and there were others – the necessity for transparency was paramount and we learned valuable lessons. The reality is that players were faced with a very serious situation where they may have been out of work because clubs could have gone bust, but by and large the players’ approach was very mature because they realised there needed to be checks and balances with salaries if the industry was going to survive.

“We were thrust into a panic situation but we all tried incredibly hard to furnish as many players as possible with all the facts so they could make informed decisions.

“Some players took 25 per cent pay cuts, others took less, but, ultimately, we were able to navigate a way through it.”

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