The leadership of Western Province Rugby has moved to distance themselves from reports of a mooted 25% salary cut for all staff, management and players earning more than R 20 000 a month and related equity participation in the commercial arm of Western Province Rugby.
The proposal, which was tabled by WPRFU Deputy President Zelt Marais, is not the official position of Western Province Rugby and does not have the support of the majority of the WPRFU Executive Committee or the Board.
While there are significant financial challenges in the current landscape, Western Province Rugby’s leadership moved to allay the concerns of staff, players and management as the proposal is not an option that the majority believe will be to the benefit of the Group in the long term.
Western Province Rugby currently has a commercial turnaround strategy in place and remains committed to the process adopted.
Although cash flow remains a challenge for Western Province Rugby and other rugby unions at present, the WPRFU are in the unique position of owning a number of unencumbered, high-value properties, which are intended to be utilised for the financial benefit of the Group.
The intention is to develop these in order to unlock latent value and generate income in perpetuity for the benefit of Western Province Rugby. This strategy seeks to maximise the value of these assets into the future to ensure the financial sustainability and success of the Group.
WPRFU President Mr Thelo Wakefield said that the reported pay cuts do not form part of the current strategy.
“We note the proposal from the WPRFU Deputy President, but wish to emphasise that it remains a proposal that has not been adopted by either the Executive Committee or the Board.
“While we continue to strive for excellence both on and off the field, I would like to assure all staff, players and management that we have no intention of doing so at their expense or welfare.” he said.
Western Province Rugby Group CEO, Paul Zacks, said that the focus of the leadership is to continue making progress with the turnaround strategy.
“It is unfortunate that this proposal has made its way into the public domain, as it certainly does not reflect the position of all our leadership. At no stage has the Board discussed the possibility of offering equity in lieu of any cuts to salary packages.
“We are committed to the current turnaround strategy and to retaining the Group’s ability to attract and reward players and support staff of the highest calibre. By implementing our numerous strategic turnaround initiatives and by making better use of our significant property portfolio, we can ensure that WP Rugby returns to profitability in the near future while enjoying success both on and off the field,” said Zacks.