The British and Irish Lions’ Captain, Sam Warburton has reportedly had his contract put on hold with the Cardiff Blues due to the drama surrounding the Heineken Cup and European Rugby Union. The Welshman’s contract runs out at the end of this season and the Blues will certainly want to hold on to arguably their best player, but at the moment they are unsure whether they will have the money to pay for Warburton. The English and French clubs are leaving the Heineken Cup to start a new tournament, the Pro 12 clubs could seriously struggle financially in the upcoming years.
The reason behind the departure of the English and French clubs from the Heineken Cup was due to the structure, qualification and pay out share being unfair and in favour of the clubs in the Pro 12. Now, the English and French have pulled out and gone to start of their own tournament, the ‘Rugby Champions Cup’.
This means the pay for the Pro 12 clubs will fall, despite them all receiving an invite to join the new tournament under a fairer structure. If the Pro 12 clubs do join the new tournament, not all the clubs would receive money as they might not qualify, resulting in Sam Warburton possibly leaving the Cardiff Blues.
Sam Warburton’s agent and fellow Welshman, Derwyn Jones commented, “Five weeks ago we said to the WRU and Cardiff Blues that Warburton wants to stay in Wales, but there is no contract offer on the table because of what is happening in Europe. There is only so much time that guys like Sam Warburton, Leigh Halfpenny and Adam Jones can wait until there is a contract offer, so the WRU and the regions must get together and do whatever they can for the good of Welsh rugby. If they don’t do it now then these players will be going.”
Author Daniel Foster.
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