Rugby: Payments not to blame, Nichol says

Rob Nichols
Rob Nichols
Players chief Rob Nichol says it is unfair to blame "overpaid" players for the financial mess in which Otago rugby has found itself.

With the Otago union due to cease trading on Friday afternoon, Nichol, the chief executive of the New Zealand Rugby Players' Association, has been in Dunedin over the past couple of days to talk to members and arrange payments for players.

The association paid the wages of the players for February from its benevolent fund, but Nichol said if the union did cease trading the player contracts would be void and they would be on the market.

"It is pretty easy to point the finger at the players but of course I don't want to mention the fact that the financial reporting was a complete mess. The player payments are pretty low on the list of what caused this," he said.

"There is the systematic failure of management and governance where they did not run the business appropriately and did not make the right decisions."

Nichol said to go into liquidation was not a great option as it would take a lot of work by the union to get back to where it was and regain some respect.

The union had 32 players on its books, with nine of those holding NZRU contracts.

The remaining 23 would be out of a job come Friday, although he admitted many of them have moved on.

Nichol said all the parties had to look at the big picture, as there was the risk of a $200 million stadium not being used because of a debt of just over $2 million held by the Otago union.




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