Rugby

Western Province Professional Rugby seek to clarify Willemse position

Western Province Professional Rugby have issued a statement regarding the continued speculation about the details of Damian Willemse with the Union.

Western Province Professional Rugby have issued a statement regarding the continued speculation about the details of Damian Willemse with the Union.

Reports emerged in the last week claiming that Willemse costs WPPR more than R5 million per year. WPPR has since refuted those claims and declared that his package would remain confidential.

WESTERN PROVINCE PROFESSIONAL RUGBY STATEMENT

Western Province Professional Rugby (WPPR) has noted that despite our recent open engagement with media in a digital press conference, this past Tuesday, there seem to exist further misconceptions that we have to correct, as they might lead to more inaccurate reporting.

It appears that, despite our plea for respect of privacy during our press conference, there is a drive by some journalists to continue singling-out a specific DHL Stormers player with a focus on his remuneration.

We refuse to be baited into engaging with the inaccurate figures that were published without our consultation, last week. We should, however make it clear that none of our players’ salaries are supplemented by a third party, apart from SARU‘s contributions towards players of national interest.

We are baffled by the seemingly obsessive focus on the earnings of one of our players, especially because no similar interest seems to be paid to the earnings of other players or teams. Needless to say, this singling out of one player is unfair and something we would like to discourage in the strongest terms.

Furthermore, there seems to exist a misconception that certain sponsorship deals we have signed were contingent on re-signing specific players. This is untrue. The suggestion that our players have been made inflated offers is also wide off the mark. Every contract that has been signed is within SARU’s recommended band. Most of them were even far less than what the players were offered elsewhere.

We have also been informed of alleged claims by unnamed sources within SARU that dispute the explanation of our current engagement with them. This will be followed up via the appropriate channels, as it contradicts the feedback we have had from SARU following our press conference. Furthermore, it should be noted that their engagement with us has nothing to do with player contracts, as reported incorrectly last week.

On the matter of potential equity partners, and as explained in the press conference, we are currently in a negotiation phase and are unable to disclose their identity, in line with the non-disclosure agreements in place. This is standard practice.

While it is expected that there would always be levels of misunderstanding following engagement with the media, we remain committed to engage and to correct such misunderstandings where these seem to have happened. We are responsible for the messages that we communicate, as we own them, even though we cannot control how they get reported upon in the media. We also appreciate public and media interest in Western Province Rugby and hope to continue engaging with the media in a positive way, going forward.

Damian Willemse
Damian Willemse of Western Province right by the 2020/21 Carling Murky Impress Currie Cup recreation between Western Province and the Bulls at Newlands Rugby Stadium on 28 November 2020 © Ryan Wilkisky/BackpagePix

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