Despite the absence of a title sponsor, the Cheetahs players have all remained on a full salary.
Free State Rugby Union President Harold Verster, speaking to rugby365.com on Wednesday, dismissed rumours that the Cheetahs had been on reduced salaries of 60 percent because of the sponsorship issue as “absolutely untrue”.
And they have also retained all their top players – like Springboks Juan Smith, Heinrich Brüssow and Ashley Johnson.
Even though there is just over a month to go to the start of the expanded Super Rugby season, the Cheetahs are still without a title sponsor.
However, Verster is confident they will resolve the issue in the next week or two.
“We are making progress with our sponsors and have already signed a number of associate sponsorships,” Verster told rugby365.com.
“Our title sponsor has not been finalised, but we are in negotiation with people,” the FSRU boss said, adding: “I will be in Johannesburg on Thursday to talk to some institutions and we hope to finalise this in the next week or two.”
He scoffed at the rumours that the players were on reduced salaries as a result of the absence of a main sponsor.
“The full salaries [for all the players] are still guaranteed.
“It is worth remembering that sponsorships are not our only or main income.
“At the Free State Cheetahs [the team in Currie Cup and other minor competitions] sponsorships make up only about 10 percent of their turnover. At Super Rugby level sponsorships make up a larger portion, because there are fewer sources of income in that aspect and it makes up about 50 percent of the turnover.”
Verster added that the FSRU do have enough in the bank to see them through till the sponsorship issue is resolved.
Apart from having retained the services of key players Juan Smith, Brüssow, Johnson and Frans Viljoen, the Cheetahs have also made a number of significant recruitments during the off-season.
Ryno Benjamin is back from Sevens duty, Andries Strauss has returned to Bloemfontein in a swap with Meyer Bosman, who has joined the Sharks, Philip Burger is back from France and lock Wilhelm Steenkamp has joined from the Bulls.
They have not renewed the contracts of two of their seasoned locks – Barend Pieterse, who has moved to the Kings, and David de Villiers, who has joined the Lions.
The Cheetahs play their first Super 15 game on February 19, against the Sharks.
Article Coutesy of Rugby365 editor Jan de KoningTweet