Steve Borthwick confident Leicester will be galvanised by salary cap probe

Steve Borthwick confident Leicester will be galvanised by salary cap probe

12/28/2021

Leicester head coach Steve Borthwick insists his Gallagher Premiership leaders will be galvanised by the investigation into a potential salary cap breach at Welford Road.

The club are cooperating with Premiership Rugby as it examines historic image rights payments made to players through a company called Worldwide Image Management, which was shut down in February.

Andrew Rogers, the league’s salary cap director, will look to clarify whether the payments constituted an increase in individual salaries and therefore broke regulations.

The development comes as Leicester sit eight points clear at the summit of the Premiership after winning all 10 matches, while a place in the knockout phase of the Heineken Champions Cup is also within touching distance.

Borthwick is the architect of their resurgence and while he concedes the Tigers have been poorly run in the past, he refuses to let the investigation affect the push for silverware.

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“This team went from being the leading club in the country to bottom of the pile. For that to happen there has to be mismanagement on and off the field,” he told BBC Radio Leicester.

“(Chief executive) Andrea Pinchen and I came in at a very similar time in the middle of 2020. Our job has been to get this club climbing the league.

“The club is co-operating fully and Andrea will be leading it. I will be looking at matters on the pitch.

“This is something else that will be thrown at us. This will make us stronger than anyone thinks we can be. It’s another thing to try and detract from what we’re trying to do.

“Over the past 18 months we have faced things like not knowing whether players would be there, from Leicester’s local lockdown, to shutting down training due to Covid outbreaks, reshaping this squad.

“I’m sure the supporters will be disappointed about the news. This investigation is looking back years. It’s not this team and I know the fans will cheer us on.”

Leicester’s financial dealings are being examined in the season that Saracens returned to the Premiership after a year spent in the second tier of English rugby as punishment for repeated salary cap breaches.

“Leicester are aware of allegations made against the club regarding historic image rights payments,” a Tigers statement read.

“The club is co-operating with Premiership Rugby, who are looking into the historic matter, and has met with representatives from Premiership Rugby to discuss the claims.

“Leicester will make no further comment while the matter remains ongoing.”

English rugby will be hoping Leicester do not become embroiled in the type of salary cap scandal that engulfed Saracens two years ago.

The north London club were deducted a total of 105 points to ensure their relegation for the 2020-21 campaign and fined £5.36million.

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Rogers found that they exceeded the salary cap by in excess of £2million across the 2016-17, 2017-18 and 2018-19 seasons through the use of contributions to property co-investments with players, image rights deals and hospitality payments.

The investigation found that some of the 2018-19 overspend was based on the valuation of the image rights payment to a player.

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