Cardiff Arms Park filled with Cardiff Rugby fans

Cardiff Rugby supporters fearful for the future after wage cuts

The club has to slash its wage bill due to a reduction in funding – leading to fears that a squad can’t be raised for next season

CARDIFF Rugby supporters are concerned about what the future holds for the club as a result of the budget cuts forced upon them by the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU).

The new six-year funding agreement between the WRU and the four professional teams in Wales will see Cardiff’s budget reduced from around £7.2 million this season to £5.2 million next season, before being further reduced to £4.5 million the following season.

This means that Cardiff, along with the other Welsh teams, are unable to offer competitive contracts to players who see their deals expire this season. Cardiff players who have previously been earning around £250,000 a year have been offered deals of just £30,000 this season, such is the bleak financial landscape.

Cardiff chief executive, Richard Holland, revealed last week that the club does not have enough money to contract enough players to form a squad for next season, leading to concern from supporters.

“We’ve already lacked recent success, and this will make it even worse,” said season ticket holder Ben Truchard, 22.

“The budget decrease will impact Cardiff to the point where our players, coaches, supporters and staff may find it untenable to remain with the region.

“I’m worried that Cardiff will attempt to make up lost cash by raising fan prices which would reduce an already small fan pool.”

Some of Cardiff’s star players have been linked with moves away from the club. Head coach Dai Young confirmed that fly-half Jarrod Evans will leave at the end of the season while it seems likely that prop Dmitri Arhip and centre Willis Halaholo will leave after suffering long-term injuries.

Wales and British & Irish Lions stars, Josh Adams and Liam Williams have also been linked with moves away from the club despite being in contract. This may actually benefit Cardiff as the transfer fees received for these players would allow the club to re-sign players on less money in a bid to build squad numbers.

“Due to the physical toll and personal commitments of playing professional rugby, £30,000 does not seem a fair wage for me,” season ticket holder Ben added.

“Especially when you consider players are living in financial situations that require their previous wage packages.”

James Dodd, 23, has been a season ticket holder at Cardiff Arms Park since he was 15 years old. He’s another supporter who fears for the future of the club.

“It’s pretty scary to think that the future of Cardiff Rugby is completely in the air,” said James.

“I’ve had a season ticket since I was 15 and whilst results have been pretty average, I’ve not once thought about no longer following them.

“However, we’ve seen what the likes of Wasps and Worcester Warriors (who were liquidated) have gone through if you don’t sort your finances out properly. Unfortunately, this reality is hitting Welsh rugby hard.”

Welsh teams have been uncompetitive in the United Rugby Championship for the past few seasons and with reduced budgets coupled with star players leaving, it is feared that the Welsh sides are going to fall even further behind their league rivals.

“All of these players that aren’t being offered acceptable salaries are simply being given no choice but to leave,” explained James.

“It now looks like Cardiff are going to have to rely on homegrown players for at least the next few seasons.

“You need players that the youngsters can look up to, those that have been there and done it. The way Willis Halaholo is set to leave is nothing short of heart-breaking as well as Liam Williams who has only been at the club for a year.

“It will be one thing to have enough players for next season but if we do how competitive will we really be in a league with high-quality South African and Irish teams?”