Lawrence Dallaglio reassures fans about a “brighter” financial future for wasps

Lawrence Dallaglio reassures fans about a “brighter” financial future for wasps

Lawrence Dallaglio reassures fans about a “brighter” financial future for wasps

Lawrence Dallaglio reassures fans about a financial future

Lawrence Dallaglio reassures fans about a “brighter” financial future for debt-stricken Wasps – Kieran Galvin / Getty Images

Wasps director Lawrence Dallaglio has revealed that the club’s financial future will be “much brighter” in the coming days as their season kicks off in Gloucester on Sunday.

The Midlands club owes bondholders £ 35 million after investing in a scheme in 2014 to raise money for the club and pay off its debts. Those investors should have been repaid in May. According to the BBC, the wasps also argued with the HMRC over unpaid taxes; they had to manage the repayment of a loan from the Sports Survival Package; and failed to pay Coventry City Council an agreed fee to take over the lease of land near their home in the Coventry Building Society Arena.

But Dallglio, 50, reassured the fans that the situation will improve shortly.

“There will be some statements in the coming days that will present and paint a much brighter picture of the club,” Dallaglio told Telegraph Sport. “There are several aspects of the Vespe business that make it complex and unique: there is a rugby club that, like any club, has had its challenges; then there is a business on the other side which, contrary to what you might read, he performed well.The complexity is that the rugby club is involved in the business, so what is – and can be – reported is not necessarily the big picture.

“They have a bond that needs to be refinanced and I’d like to be more honest, but I can’t at the moment. There will be some outgoing statements that hopefully put us in a much better position; but there is no imminent threat to the club.

“Nothing is ever exactly as it is reported. Someone like me knows this better than anyone else. There are three sides to every story. There is one side, the other side and the truth.”

Dallaglio made 326 last-row Wasps appearances over an 18-year spell and captained the club at four Premiership titles and two European Cups and, since 2015, has been club director. Despite an emotional attachment, his concerns transcend his club.

“I am emotionally attached to rugby, not just to wasps,” added Dallaglio, who has won 85 caps for England. “There are currently five teams for sale, so please don’t sit there and tell me that rugby in this country doesn’t have its challenges.

“But it is not in crisis. The future of rugby has a lot of potential but I don’t think the game has grown exponentially since I retired; the game has been professional since 1995 and the same problems still exist today.”

dallaglio rugby wasps 2007 - David Rogers / Getty Images

dallaglio rugby wasps 2007 – David Rogers / Getty Images

Dallaglio believes that all rugby stakeholders should do more to commercialize the sport and make it as attractive a proposition as possible for potential new fans.

“When you play rugby, for 80 minutes of the week, you are an enemy, that’s what we want,” said Dallaglio. “But the clubs, the Premiership Rugby and the Rugby Football Union need to be much more aligned in terms of what they want in the game. When we are not playing against each other, we have to grow the sport. players to the public and higher-profile players need to understand that they are the people who will lead it: Ellis Genge, Owen Farrell and Marcus Smith – and others.

“We have to appeal to a much wider audience. My daughter has become a Formula 1 fan overnight because she understands the players; Drive to Survive is one, but not the only, reason. The stakeholders, the players and the clubs have to work together much harder Covid exacerbated it because it turned people away.

“My mood is upbeat though, as there is huge potential for the sport. It’s not bright and rosy right now, but we’ve turned the corner and there’s room for optimism.”

The perennial thorn in the Premiership squad, however, is how it can be effectively marketed when a large cohort of the league’s top players is missing for big pieces. For Dallaglio there is no easy answer, but reducing the number of matches is not the solution.

“I don’t think that’s necessarily the way forward,” he said. “I don’t know what the answer is, but we have a block of 10 Premiership games to start the season, which is very exciting – I can’t remember the last time that happened. What we want is for our best players to play. in those games, and not all of them will be. I don’t know how to get past it, but it’s not easy to follow when the best players don’t play every single week. “

BT Sport is the home of the Gallagher Premiership. New season kicks off with Bristol v Bath at 7pm on BT Sport 1 on Friday 9 September – www.bt.com/sport/rugby-union

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