Exeter cry foul over lack of funds
August 18, 2010
Exeter celebrate their promotion to English rugby's top flight © Getty Images
Exeter chief executive Tony Rowe has slammed the lack of funding and preparation time given to his side ahead of their Aviva Premiership debut.
The Chiefs earned promotion to English rugby's top flight courtesy of a Championship play-off victory over Bristol in May and have since been playing catch-up in terms of recruitment and planning. And in a further blow to their hopes of cementing a Premiership place they will receive less than half of the estimated £2.5 million from central funding that their rivals will get due to the fact they have never been part of the top division before.
"The way the Premiership is set up, it's an old boys' club in that the longer you're there, the more money you get," Rowe told the Daily Telegraph. "Everything is stacked against us. We've got one hand tied behind our back. I think it's disgusting."
Rowe also expressed his anger that a side would also have to be in the Premiership for six years to qualify for the full parachute payment of about £1.75 million were they to get relegated. "I let Premier Rugby know how upset my management team was over that," Rowe said. "We are massively disadvantaged."
Despite the obvious disadvantages they face, Rowe is confident the Chiefs can thrive in the Premiership and confirmed that the club will still spend up to the limit of the £4.23 million salary cap.
"We can overcome all this," Rowe added. "I'm a half-full rather than a half-empty person. We're the only club that has ticked all the boxes on minimum criteria coming up. We've got a massive responsibility to our supporters. We're the senior sporting club in the West Country."
Coach Rob Baxter echoed his chief executive's positive comments, adding, "We've invested so much in getting to this stage, there's no point being daunted by it now. We were never going to rock up with an all-star line-up. But our work ethic is strong, as is our support base. It all counts. The first month will knock us in a bit. Worried? No, I'm excited by it."