Ellis Genge hopes Worcester players avoid ‘gruesome’ outcome amid crisis

The Gallagher Premiership club are reportedly on the brink of administration following a winding-up petition over unpaid tax.

By Press Association Published: 25 August 2022 - 9.00pm

England prop Ellis Genge hopes players from crisis club Worcester do not get “shafted” after saying friends were hit hard financially by Premiership Rugby’s salary cap.

Worcester’s players and staff must wait to discover their fate, with the Gallagher Premiership club reportedly on the brink of administration after a winding-up petition over unpaid tax was issued by HM Revenue & Customs.

Former Worcester chief executive Jim O’Toole is spearheading a newly-formed consortium with investment from a US company to save the club from administration.

Worcester Warriors verge of administration
Worcester Warriors are on the brink of administration and face an uncertain future (David Davies/PA)

But the future of the Warriors, who include current England internationals Ollie Lawrence and Ted Hill, remains uncertain.

New Bristol signing Genge said: “I’ve got a few mates there and I messaged Ollie and said: ‘Are you OK?’ He said there’s been some discrepancies with their pay and stuff like that. It’s bleak.

“I’d like to see Worcester stay in the Prem. It’s a good club, and hopefully they can sort it out.

“I just feel everything is always on everyone else’s terms (and not the players). I feel we’re extremely vulnerable in that situation.

“Hopefully those boys (Worcester players) don't get shafted because that would be absolutely gruesome”
- Ellis Genge

“I’ve been told Bristol handled that Covid period really well, but as you’ve seen in recent years contracts have been literally paper-thin.

“They didn’t mean much, and hopefully those boys don’t get shafted because that would be absolutely gruesome.”

Premiership clubs decided to reduce the £6.4million salary cap in place for the 2020-21 campaign to £5m for last season.

The reduction came in the wake of Saracens being relegated from the top flight in 2020 for past breaches of the cap, and the financial impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Genge said: “You’ve seen the constraints of the cap already and how many squad players have been left with no contracts.

“Quite a few of my friends are in that situation, which is horrible. You’ve got mid-level squad players and first-team players now having to take more than a 50 per cent pay cut and going down levels.

“You always hear people say ‘you get paid enough’, but you put your body through a lot and yourself at a lot of risk.

“Your neck hurts all the time, you go through a lot in 10 years. Sacrifice everything to be your best in that 10 years. Then imagine having to go and start a whole different career after that.

“It’s a lot of sacrifice for quite a high-risk job. So at least you’d like to think everyone would get looked after in that 10 years, but it’s not the case.

“I hope Worcester are going to help everyone out. I just don’t want to see anyone kicked out on their arse.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen if they actually go under. But maybe some dispensation for the other clubs, increase the cap by 10 per cent, and scoop up some players.”

Genge left his hometown club Bristol in February 2016 to join Leicester.

Leicester Tigers v Saracens – Gallagher Premiership – Final – Twickenham Stadium
Ellis Genge (left) ended his time at Leicester as a Premiership title winner (Tim Goode/PA)

He ended his six-year stay in the east Midlands in June by leading the Tigers to the Premiership title.

“It’s a completely different club with different morals and values, everything,” Genge said of his return to Ashton Gate.

“I take a lot of pride in being a Bristolian. I’ve always had a pull on coming back, but I was reasonably reluctant the way it went (before).

“But in recent years family pulled on me coming back and Covid definitely shone a light on it.”

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