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Worcester and Wasps, WTF?

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Post by Intotouch Thu Sep 29, 2022 8:53 pm

First topic message reminder :

And no, I don’t mean “welcome to Facebook” .
I logged onto the forum a few days ago to learn more about what has happened to these clubs expecting to a thread on this. But I had to write one instead. (Should I have used the title “who cares”?)

After listening to an OTB interview with an English reporter on the subject I gather that no staff working at Worcester have been paid for months, including those on low wages who will have missed mortgage payments and since their finances/ accounts still haven’t been properly kept they can’t yet be sold so there’s no hope of a white knight rescuing them. Their finances were completely mismanaged. Wasps appear to be in a better position and although they’ll be relegated will continue to exist. They are struggling to pay a tax bill and a debt incurred when they moved to London. (I thought this sounded weird, why move to a crazy expensive city packed with other sports teams?)

Below is an interesting article from the BBC on this topic.
https://www.bbc.com/sport/rugby-union/63053674
What shocked me about this article is the following: “ One club owner, who spoke on condition of anonymity, told BBC Sport: "I don't think there's one owner who'd tell you the model is working. It's completely flawed." Bristol Bears owner Stephen Lansdown recently said there is "just not enough money in the game,” If this is true, why is it true?

In the meantime , other clubs in the prem have voted to increase the salary cap at a time when many clubs are struggling with debts. This all sounds seriously worrying and suggests that clubs in the prem will soon have bigger financial problems in the future trying to pay even more in wages. Which suggests that more will start to go bust. And they voted to increase the salary cap? Am I missing something here or is this as dysfunctional as it sounds? And how can there not be enough money in the game in England? Rugby fans from other countries also regularly say how great the competition is, fans are absolutely showing up to see it, the competition is healthy, tv contracts are in place, cvc threw money at it recently. In theory things should be great. So….Welcome to Facebook?

(By the way this thread isn’t an invitation to slam the premiership or gloat. We are all rugby fans first and foremost and this could just as easily happen to your own club.)

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Post by doctor_grey Sun Oct 16, 2022 7:30 am

For the Premiership and Rugby in England, the financial problems are a disaster of their own amateur making.  And to me, an unmitigated disaster for Rugby in England and to a lesser extent, Rugby in  general.  

I think the underpinnings of the problems at Worcester and Wasps are different.  Wasps were likely doomed at some future point (Covid or not) since they were too highly leveraged and the Premiership with its amateur mentality didn't understand (care?).  Worcester had crap ownership, but likely would have survived in a non-Covid world, but never compete in real terms, with the occasional relegation scrap.    

And so it seems, the Premiership finally understands it is time to act like a proper professional league and seems to suddenly embrace real financial transparency and penalties.  These converts cite the LNR as an example, which is good.  But financial transparency and hard or soft salary caps have been existence in the American leagues for 25 years, or so, and their leagues are extremely successful.  

So the answer was there all the time, but the people in Rugby, with their amateur era arrogance, failed.  I know this is stark, but I have thought the lack of transparency and the lack of seasoned, professional sports executives would cause problems.  I have even talked about it here - and was sometimes rubbished for it, but here we are.  Covid only exacerbated or accelerated the financial flaws at Worcester and Wasps.  

To make matters worse, some of the same people, who in the summer were touting the need for a 14 team Premiership, now are scrambling to sound well thought out saying a 10 team Premiership is right-sized.  I think that's nuts, by the way, but we have to make the 11 team league work for this season.  

People have complained about the Premiership's requirement for any club wanting promotion to have a 10k+ seat building.  This is exactly why - the need for financial strength (not sure how the Premiership actually got something right).  I also think the Premiership needs to actively look for potential owners with some cash and then connect them with an ambitious club, not the way it is now.  

Only a start, there are many things which can be done.  But, the panic thinking has to stop and an experienced sports executive needs to be brought in with real clout.  Combined with NFL style transparency, this can be reversed.   And maybe put Rugby on a real path to growth.  

In other words, the same people who got us into this mess are going to get us out?  (shudder)

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Post by Geordie Sun Oct 16, 2022 9:41 am

Rumours circulating up here that we will be gone by Xmas....

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun Oct 16, 2022 11:06 am

Geordie wrote:Rumours circulating up here that we will be gone by Xmas....

Let's hope they're just rumours.

I wonder if any discussions have been had with the Saudi's regarding investment?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Oct 16, 2022 11:41 am

You actually want those scum in your club sarge?

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun Oct 16, 2022 1:04 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:You actually want those scum in your club sarge?

I don't have a huge issue with Saudi tbh. I live in the region so see things a little differently perhaps.

I wouldn't be adverse to them getting on board.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Oct 16, 2022 1:23 pm

I'd have to stop supporting or going to any club I followed I think. Would be a sad day and I'd rather Boro go under than take that money.

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Sun Oct 16, 2022 1:31 pm

Yea, I can see that perspective too if I'm honest.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Sun Oct 16, 2022 1:48 pm

Geordie wrote:Rumours circulating up here that we will be gone by Xmas....

That would be very bad for the English game. Hopefully your owners prudent spending means you are in a half decent position and can come through ok. Covid has definitely given the fragile finances of rugby a real kicking.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Oct 16, 2022 2:15 pm

According to the rugby paper the latest rumour is London Irish and wasps looking at a merger.

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Post by Geordie Sun Oct 16, 2022 3:32 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:You actually want those scum in your club sarge?
Do you use
Starbucks?
Facebook?
Microsoft
Uber
Boeing
Citigroup
BP
Disney channel
Amongst a host of others...???


Last edited by Geordie on Sun Oct 16, 2022 3:35 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Oct 16, 2022 3:34 pm

Geordie wrote:
No 7&1/2 wrote:You actually want those scum in your club sarge?
Do you use Starbucks?
Facebook?
Microsoft
User
Boeing
Citigroup
BP
Disney channel
Amongst a host of others...???

No. No. Yes at work. No. No.no. don't know. Yes.

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Post by Geordie Sun Oct 16, 2022 3:35 pm

They are major shareholders in all of those...

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Post by Geordie Sun Oct 16, 2022 3:37 pm

In fact you'll do well to find something they're not invested in.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Oct 16, 2022 3:38 pm

Presumably you're more than happy to take the sportswashing money then geordie?

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Post by Geordie Sun Oct 16, 2022 3:38 pm

formerly known as Sam wrote:
Geordie wrote:Rumours circulating up here that we will be gone by Xmas....

That would be very bad for the English game. Hopefully your owners prudent spending means you are in a half decent position and can come through ok. Covid has definitely given the fragile finances of rugby a real kicking.

Hopefully just rumours Sam but as you say Covid has given most teams a real kicking....

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Post by carpet baboon Sun Oct 16, 2022 7:26 pm

Bill Sweeney: RFU chief executive determined to sort 'broken' English game - https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/63276725

Interesting from the RFU

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Post by Geordie Sun Oct 16, 2022 8:48 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Presumably you're more than happy to take the sportswashing money then geordie?

Sure am....

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Post by No 7&1/2 Sun Oct 16, 2022 9:18 pm

Yikes indeed.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Oct 17, 2022 8:27 am

carpet baboon wrote:Bill Sweeney: RFU chief executive determined to sort 'broken' English game - https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/63276725

Interesting from the RFU

So that's the Fissler report denied as having any truth to it by Irish then.

Personally never seen 'wealthy benefactors' as a bad thing at all and generally comes from people who like the old status quo kept. For all the bad he did to other clubs through the cheating I doubt you'd find many people who saw Wray as a problem to Saracens, the tits at Worcester though quite different!

'A reduction in the size of the Premiership as a way forward has already been suggested by the league with Sweeney agreeing it was "viable" and there was a "clear financial benefit" around fewer teams getting a bigger slice of broadcasting and commercial revenues.

"The clear intention there is that we'll be able to drive more value through less volume - and you'll have better quality volume that will drive better quality value as well," he said.

Sweeney also endorsed the idea of revamping the Championship to close the "huge" financial gap between the top two divisions and making it a "viable competition for a Premiership club to drop down into" capable of supporting clubs with top-flight ambitions to grow responsibly.

"I want to end the myth that we're anti-Championship or the second tier," Sweeney said. "I can understand why the myth's developed but the endless funding into the previous model was not the answer."

Although current funding from the RFU has dropped from £6.5m in 2017 to £1.5m, Sweeney says the fact that 14 of the 17 teams relegated from the Premiership in that time have come straight back up shows the model "wasn't working" and the RFU couldn't justify "pumping money into clubs that were losing money".

Any fundamental changes to the game's structure would also focus on the relationship between club and international calendars with Sweeney adamant it was a "major priority" to avoid any clashes, saying overlapping "doesn't help anybody".

No changes are expected before the start of the 2024-25 season, with Sweeney clear there was a "collective will to fix the situation".

"I believe we will come through this stronger and in better shape. I don't see this as the demise of our game over the longer term.

"This next era has got to be about strong governance, sustainability and player welfare. It's time to be decisive and take advantage of the opportunities that come out in this very difficult time."'

Interesting last bit after his want for more visibility and assurance that clubs aren't spending everything they get in. Surely he has to acknowledge that if he wants a stronger 2nd league then more money needs to be going to Championship clubs, redirected from the Prem money if needs be. Simply stating that the Prem teams are still generally much stronger so we'll cut funding is odd; more money not less! He's never going to say this publicly but the RFU must be looking at getting more hands on, thinking of central contracts and more placement of players directly to clubs?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Oct 17, 2022 8:39 am

Though that BBC article doesn't look like it has the full interview. From the Guardian he does indeed mention further possibilities:

'“I think everything is on the table to be discussed,” Sweeney said. “There are certain phrases which are like nuclear buttons and the phrase ‘central contracts’ tends to have that nuclear effect.

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“In terms of the higher salaries for the elite players, the time they spend playing for England and the time they spend playing for their club – is there a different way we can work with PRL and work with the clubs in order to mitigate the expense they are facing on that side of things and have a better structure in place so we achieve greater financial stability for the clubs and we also achieve better quality of players coming into the national team? I would say that all of these possibilities are on the table because of what’s happened.

“I don’t like using the phrase but this has created an opportunity, but it is an opportunity to look at everything that has been knocking around for quite some time. This is the time to address that.'

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Post by Geordie Mon Oct 17, 2022 8:46 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Yikes indeed.

Your always quick to thriw your moral standing out on here. .. Do you think most of the other major nations across the globe are exempt of questionable acts?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Oct 17, 2022 8:51 am

Yeah of course I am, think most people are, we just have different lines in the sand. I do think the Saudi regime are in the top tier of despicable at the moment. Like I said to Sgt, I'd have to stop following any club that had them at the helm, whether it made Boro Champions league winners or not. I'd rather reminisce of Jamie Pollock kicking everything in sight and Alan Moore down the wing.

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Post by Recwatcher16 Mon Oct 17, 2022 9:08 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Though that BBC article doesn't look like it has the full interview. From the Guardian he does indeed mention further possibilities:

'“I think everything is on the table to be discussed,” Sweeney said. “There are certain phrases which are like nuclear buttons and the phrase ‘central contracts’ tends to have that nuclear effect.

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“In terms of the higher salaries for the elite players, the time they spend playing for England and the time they spend playing for their club – is there a different way we can work with PRL and work with the clubs in order to mitigate the expense they are facing on that side of things and have a better structure in place so we achieve greater financial stability for the clubs and we also achieve better quality of players coming into the national team? I would say that all of these possibilities are on the table because of what’s happened.

“I don’t like using the phrase but this has created an opportunity, but it is an opportunity to look at everything that has been knocking around for quite some time. This is the time to address that.'

Sweeney is simply taking the opportunity to secure more consistent access to fit and available players for the England test team. He has no ultimate aims with club sides. If your club doesn't have any test players, what 'greater financial stability' is there going to be.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Oct 17, 2022 9:39 am

Central contracts and placing players at clubs?

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Post by Sgt_Pooly Mon Oct 17, 2022 11:12 am

No 7&1/2 wrote:Yeah of course I am, think most people are, we just have different lines in the sand. I do think the Saudi regime are in the top tier of despicable at the moment. Like I said to Sgt, I'd have to stop following any club that had them at the helm, whether it made Boro Champions league winners or not. I'd rather reminisce of Jamie Pollock kicking everything in sight and Alan Moore down the wing.  

And that's good for you, different views keep things interesting.

I think we've all given our thoughts on PIF potentially investing (I very much doubt they are), so lets put that one to bed as it's a messy one not related to anything on this thread really.

So is there anything in this merger touted by Wasps?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Oct 17, 2022 11:47 am

Not according to Irish. Unless Wasps now try to play with Newcastle.

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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon Oct 17, 2022 2:01 pm

No 7&1/2 wrote:Central contracts and placing players at clubs?

vomit

Then you get the RFU favouritism issue. Is your chairman a buddy of the stuffed suits making the decision of who goes where or are we then suggesting some sort of draft selection? No thanks.

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Oct 17, 2022 2:25 pm

It could certainly be an option. England probably wouldn't want central contracted players either behind someone else in the pecking order ie 2 9s playing for the same team, or being potentially played in a position where the England coach didn't want them played. May be a bit of switch between club and union power come 2024?

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Oct 17, 2022 2:35 pm

And Wasps go into administration.

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Post by Mr Bounce Mon Oct 17, 2022 3:21 pm

Those poor staff and players.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon Oct 17, 2022 3:26 pm

Looks like Leicester are next:-

https://www.mirror.co.uk/sport/rugby-union/leicester-take-700000-hit-after-28236163?utm_source=wales_online_newsletter&utm_campaign=reactivation_rugbylions_newsletter2&utm_medium=email

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Post by Geordie Mon Oct 17, 2022 3:33 pm

Big trouble ahead....rumours about us...London Irish..efc


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Post by RugbyFan100 Mon Oct 17, 2022 3:57 pm

LordDowlais wrote:Looks like Leicester are next:-


The article mentions nothing of the sort.

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Post by LordDowlais Mon Oct 17, 2022 4:05 pm

RugbyFan100 wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:Looks like Leicester are next:-


The article mentions nothing of the sort.

English champions Leicester have been dragged into the crisis engulfing club rugby after being left without a home fixture for seven weeks. wrote:

Just going by this statement.

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Post by Irish Londoner Mon Oct 17, 2022 4:21 pm

It's almost as though letting "business people" and "investors" controlling clubs and forming their own cartel to govern themselves, with minimal oversight from the sport's governing body is a bad idea.....

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Post by PhilBB Mon Oct 17, 2022 4:25 pm

Irish Londoner wrote:It's almost as though letting "business people" and "investors" controlling clubs and forming their own cartel to govern themselves, with minimal oversight from the sport's governing body is a bad idea.....

It's an interesting take to hold that line of view now, but this wasn't mentioned when England were making World Cup finals or their clubs were winning European trophies (despite playing teams with far larger budgets).

And all because of two rogue Directors and an £8m hole in a Conference Centre's income.
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Post by PhilBB Mon Oct 17, 2022 4:29 pm

LordDowlais wrote:
RugbyFan100 wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:Looks like Leicester are next:-


The article mentions nothing of the sort.



Just going by this statement.

In their last set of annual accounts, Leicester had net assets of £38,601,000, with cash in the bank of £3,988,000
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Post by formerly known as Sam Mon Oct 17, 2022 4:44 pm

PhilBB wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:
RugbyFan100 wrote:
LordDowlais wrote:Looks like Leicester are next:-


The article mentions nothing of the sort.



Just going by this statement.

In their last set of annual accounts, Leicester had net assets of £38,601,000, with cash in the bank of £3,988,000

Tigers are also looking at hosting a friendly on one of the vacated weekends against an international side or similar in order to reduce the cashflow impact. In recent times when a friendly like that has taken place it's been midweek and has had around 15k in attendance. At a weekend it would be at least as much as a home game Vs Wuss maybe as much as Vs Wasps.

It'll be a hindrance to the club but I'd be surprised if we'd go to the wall over it.

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Post by mikey_dragon Mon Oct 17, 2022 4:53 pm

This is not good for rugby, not just the clubs involved.

That said, it looks like we're on our way to having 4 Welsh teams in the Premiership, not just 2!

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Post by No 7&1/2 Mon Oct 17, 2022 4:59 pm

Oh god. By the time you get here mikey we will have replicated the Irish way and we'll just have to put up with loaning about How's its just not fair and how our refs are rubbish!

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Post by doctor_grey Mon Oct 17, 2022 5:23 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:This is not good for rugby, not just the clubs involved.

That said, it looks like we're on our way to having 4 Welsh teams in the Premiership, not just 2!
You want your teams to join a league is financial disarray and is in the midst of a partial financial collapse?  A league with no vision, no creativity, no leadership.  And no prep for a financial crisis despite many teams just scraping by for over a decade? How in bloody heck can there be no back-up plan for a league which is weak financially? Incompetent, the league is managed like a minor league and is managed by minor leaguers.

This proposal can't be good for Welsh Rugby.  The URC is just getting its sea legs.  Why go anywhere else?

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Post by demosthenes Mon Oct 17, 2022 5:31 pm

There might be something in the idea that the Welsh clubs could end up in a League with the English. But it will probably only happen if the rump of the solvent English clubs join the URC.

Now there's a thought!

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Post by mikey_dragon Mon Oct 17, 2022 6:23 pm

doctor_grey wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:This is not good for rugby, not just the clubs involved.

That said, it looks like we're on our way to having 4 Welsh teams in the Premiership, not just 2!
You want your teams to join a league is financial disarray and is in the midst of a partial financial collapse?  A league with no vision, no creativity, no leadership.  And no prep for a financial crisis despite many teams just scraping by for over a decade?  How in bloody heck can there be no back-up plan for a league which is weak financially?  Incompetent, the league is managed like a minor league and is managed by minor leaguers.    

This proposal can't be good for Welsh Rugby.  The URC is just getting its sea legs.  Why go anywhere else?

You raise a few good points, but who said that I (that’s me) wanted it? Smile

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Post by LeinsterFan4life Mon Oct 17, 2022 6:36 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:This is not good for rugby, not just the clubs involved.

That said, it looks like we're on our way to having 4 Welsh teams in the Premiership, not just 2!
You want your teams to join a league is financial disarray and is in the midst of a partial financial collapse?  A league with no vision, no creativity, no leadership.  And no prep for a financial crisis despite many teams just scraping by for over a decade?  How in bloody heck can there be no back-up plan for a league which is weak financially?  Incompetent, the league is managed like a minor league and is managed by minor leaguers.    

This proposal can't be good for Welsh Rugby.  The URC is just getting its sea legs.  Why go anywhere else?

You raise a few good points, but who said that I (that’s me) wanted it? Smile
Mikey loves the URC. Hug

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Post by doctor_grey Mon Oct 17, 2022 10:50 pm

mikey_dragon wrote:
doctor_grey wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:This is not good for rugby, not just the clubs involved.

That said, it looks like we're on our way to having 4 Welsh teams in the Premiership, not just 2!
You want your teams to join a league is financial disarray and is in the midst of a partial financial collapse?  A league with no vision, no creativity, no leadership.  And no prep for a financial crisis despite many teams just scraping by for over a decade?  How in bloody heck can there be no back-up plan for a league which is weak financially?  Incompetent, the league is managed like a minor league and is managed by minor leaguers.    

This proposal can't be good for Welsh Rugby.  The URC is just getting its sea legs.  Why go anywhere else?

You raise a few good points, but who said that I (that’s me) wanted it? Smile
That cracks me up!thumbsup

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Post by doctor_grey Mon Oct 17, 2022 10:57 pm

demosthenes wrote:There might be something in the idea that the Welsh clubs could end up in a League with the English.  But it will probably only happen if the rump of the solvent English clubs join the URC.

Now there's a thought!
That is a great thought. I suggested something like that about 10 yeas ago thinking we are all better together. More marketing clout, more variability, more interest, more exposure, more, more, more money. Which means it can never happen. Too much sense. Everyone would have to surrender some power, and we know that can't happen. Even for the common good.....

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Post by Irish Londoner Tue Oct 18, 2022 8:37 am

PhilBB wrote:
Irish Londoner wrote:It's almost as though letting "business people" and "investors" controlling clubs and forming their own cartel to govern themselves, with minimal oversight from the sport's governing body is a bad idea.....

It's an interesting take to hold that line of view now, but this wasn't mentioned when England were making World Cup finals or their clubs were winning European trophies (despite playing teams with far larger budgets).

And all because of two rogue Directors and an £8m hole in a Conference Centre's income.

Actually it was mentioned normally in the context of "Why can't the rest of rugby be organised in this highly effective way, where strong chairmen and business people are the right people to look after the sport." As our soon to be ex prime minister would say "Let the markets decide"....

Still with two teams gone now is the opportune moment for the PRL to offer two places to Welsh teams, got to be happening any day now hasn't it?

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Post by Welshmushroom Tue Oct 18, 2022 9:05 am

Bit of a disaster for Saracens going into Europe. With the games now off unless they reschedule their last league game will be 13th Nov. They don't play their next game against Edinburgh until 10th Dec. That's a month off for them. They will be well rested but will this help their form going into that first European block.


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Post by RugbyFan100 Tue Oct 18, 2022 9:37 am

doctor_grey wrote:
mikey_dragon wrote:This is not good for rugby, not just the clubs involved.

That said, it looks like we're on our way to having 4 Welsh teams in the Premiership, not just 2!
You want your teams to join a league is financial disarray and is in the midst of a partial financial collapse?  A league with no vision, no creativity, no leadership.  And no prep for a financial crisis despite many teams just scraping by for over a decade?  How in bloody heck can there be no back-up plan for a league which is weak financially?  Incompetent, the league is managed like a minor league and is managed by minor leaguers.    

This proposal can't be good for Welsh Rugby.  The URC is just getting its sea legs.  Why go anywhere else?

Good god, what an awful post.

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Post by Irish Londoner Tue Oct 18, 2022 9:52 am

Welshmushroom wrote:Bit of a disaster for Saracens going into Europe.  With the games now off unless they reschedule their last league game will be 13th Nov.  They don't play their next game against Edinburgh until 10th Dec.  That's a month off for them.  They will be well rested but will this help their form going into that first European block.

Presumably they'll organise a couple of friendlies in the gap to at least keep match fitness - maybe the other clubs that were playing Wasps/Wuss in this window will want to do the same thing?

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