In an effort to mitigate financial strains amidst the ongoing crisis in Welsh rugby, Cardiff is striving to “unlock” funds to guarantee they have sufficient players for the 2023-24 season.
Cardiff’s chief executive, Richard Holland, informed the club’s supporters about the plan through a newsletter. According to reports, some Cardiff players who were earning as much as £250,000 annually have been presented with new contracts for as low as £30,000 per year.
Holland is aspiring for “an uplift in capital investment” and “transition” funding via the Professional Rugby Board (PRB).
He wrote: “We are trying to unlock transition funding through PRB and are exploring other means individually to raise capital – I will be sending communications to our shareholders on this matter in the coming weeks.
“If we can achieve an uplift in capital investment then it will allow us the capability to contract the required amount of players to construct a squad for next season.”
Liam Williams and Josh Adams, both prominent backs for Wales and the British and Irish Lions, and two of the higher earners at Cardiff, have been rumoured to be considering moves that would see them leaving Wales.
Last week, the Professional Rugby Board (PRB) provided the regions with a detailed agreement that included a reduction of the 60-cap rule to 25 and the appointment of Gareth Lewis, the Welsh Rugby Players Association (WRPA) chief executive, to the PRB committee. The PRB oversees the professional rugby game in Wales and comprises representatives from the regions and the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU).
“We now find ourselves in a hugely significant moment for the future of Welsh rugby as a whole and there may still be some short-term pain, but we have the opportunity to effect positive, lasting change,” Holland said.
“Alun Jones (Cardiff chairman) and I addressed our entire squad and rugby department where we gave a very honest presentation of the new financial model and the impact it will have on our business.
“The current reality is we have a limited amount of funding available after our existing liabilities to be able to contract players and coaches.
“Simply there is not enough money to do that currently.”
In addition, Holland is optimistic that a series of meetings scheduled for this week will result in the Cardiff board signing the long-form agreement on Friday, March 3rd.
“The board fully accept this deal is not perfect, but will ensure our survival and from there we can begin to rebuild,” he said.
“The delay in getting a deal done has put a lot of strain on the company and we remain enormously grateful to our life president Peter Thomas for his continued support.
“We have said in the past that we would not be here today if it were not for Peter’s generosity and that unwavering support continues.
“We have enormous sympathy with the players and coaches who find themselves in the middle of this crisis. We are all human and like us they have mortgages to pay and families to provide for.
“But as a number of them have now pointed out, their threat of strike action [for Wales’ game against England in the Six Nations] was not about how much they earn, but the fact that we have not been able to offer contracts due to the delay in reaching an agreement with the WRU.”