Warriors Start Rebuilding With Clean Slate
Agreements Reached with Six Players
Auckland, New Zealand – 19 October 2000 – The first six players have reached agreement with the Warriors to play for the club during the coming season.
This was revealed today by Eric Watson whose private company, Cullen Investments, has a majority stake in the club.
The player agreements range from one to three years. The club plans to have the Warriors’ coach announce players, their positions and contract details, along with further player signings, early next week.
Following Monday’s purchase of the Auckland Warrior’s operating licence from Tainui, the new licence holders have moved to begin rebuilding the club and sign new player contracts. The aim is to establish a sound financial base for the club under a new operating company, New Zealand Warriors Limited, owned by Cullen and New Zealand Rugby League.
“Although we bought an operating licence: we did not buy player contracts. You simply cannot buy people,” said Mr Watson. “That means we have to enter into a new, sustainable contract with every player on terms that we, and they, can live with. Under the new Warriors, players will have the opportunity to earn more than previously, based on performance incentives. Our aim is to build a club that performs strongly on the field, and that starts with the way players are rewarded. When the team wins players will be rewarded.”
Staff contracted to the Tainui-owned Auckland Warriors have been advised that their former employer is insolvent and that a new operating structure is being established. A small number of staff have been retained over a transitional period to ensure that the club’s day-to-day activities can continue, including ticket sales for the coming season. The remainder will be invited to apply for jobs once a new structure is in place.
“Our understanding is that sufficient funds exist within the Auckland Warriors accounts to pay staff wages,” said Watson. “Those people who are owed wages will have first claim over any cash.
“We will provide legal advice to staff, free of charge, and are working with Tainui’s advisors to find a way for the cash to be released as quickly as possible.
“We want to run the club responsibly, so that it can, in future, pay its bills. That will best serve the long-term interests of the fans, the players and the game. To do that we have to make a clean start. Getting there will take time, and it will cost. And we’re prepared for both, but only if we’re doing so from the right foundation.
“The support that we have received from fans who want to see this team win has been hugely encouraging,” said Watson. “There’s a real depth of feeling around the country for the Warriors. We want to respond to that by building a club that wins games and brings the fans back to the park.”