Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wasps Win Marred by Row over Bonuses

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Wasps Win Marred by Row over Bonuses

Article excerpt

LONDON WASPS were coming to terms with the financial realities of rugby union today after becoming European champions for the second time in four years. Ian McGeechan, the club's director of rugby, saw his team put in a heroic performance at Twickenham to deny Leicester an unprecedented treble but then revealed they had collected a bonus of only [pounds sterling]37,000 for winning the Heineken Cup again.

Wasps battled their way to a 25-9 victory in front of a world record 81,000 crowd for a club match. But, with the cheers of the Wasps fans ringing in his ears, McGeechan called on the clubs' professional body to reward excellence on the pitch.

All monies generated by English clubs in the Heineken Cup are pooled and then shared equally among the 12 teams. There is a [pounds sterling]37,000 bonus for lifting the most prestigious club trophy in the world but McGeechan believes this ludicrous state of affairs is part of a much wider debate.

He said: "We have won [pounds sterling]37,000 for collecting the Heineken Cup, yet a club receives a parachute payment of [pounds sterling]2million for being relegated from the Premiership. Something is wrong." McGeechan is also calling for clubs to be given extra funding for developing England players, and added: "Professional Rugby Ltd must look at the problem because you should also be rewarding teams for doing this.

"At present, the system penalises Wasps when we give up a dozen players to Test rugby because underthe current share-out of funds, we do not have the money to bring in new players. It's just not possible." Wasps captain Lawrence Dallaglio is also concerned about the financial constraints on the club and fears the team spirit that has helped close the gap on big-spending teams like Leicester and Toulouse will become impossible to replicate. Unlike Leicester, Wasps do not make a seven-figure annual profit, own their ground or boast season ticket sales of more than 16,000.

Dallaglio wants the Wasps board to match the invention and commitment shown by the players against Leicester yesterday or face the prospect of falling behind in the race to dominate the game in Europe. …

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