Sale's Simon Orange warns that rugby will go bust if it doesn't sort out salary spending

Sale Sharks co-owner Simon Orange
Salary warning: Sale Sharks co-owner Simon Orange Credit: Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Sale Sharks’ co-owner, Simon Orange, has called for greater transparency in salary cap arrangements as he warns that it is too easy to escape detection and that the game would be in danger of going bust if there were unchecked spending across the league.

Orange, who took over three years ago and has ambitions to make Sale a regular challenger for honours after years of financial struggle, believes that a line in the sand has to be drawn if the Premiership is to avoid a free-for-all in the transfer and salary market that would cause lasting damage.

Even though Saracens have been found guilty of transgressions, incurring a 35 point deduction and a £5.3 million fine, Orange wants to see greater disclosure on payments as it is too easy to cheat the system.  

"Of course it is,” said Orange. “They can only audit what's there, can't they? I am sure they have an investigative team but, if they said to me, we want to check my (CorpArq's) books, even though I've got nothing to hide but I'd still tell them no. And would they want to check the 35 businesses that we own? You can only go so far, can't you?

"Everybody needs to realise how important it is and stick with it. I’m in agreement with transparency, players having to account for what they receive and maybe agents too. I don’t know (if everyone is playing by the rules) but I do know I have got 34 players and I’m struggling (to be within the cap) and others have 48 quality players and they aren’t so I suspect we’re not all the way there yet."

Steaming in: Sale players scrum down against Wasps Credit: Alex Livesey/Getty Images

"But I’m pretty confident we will get there. Premier Rugby will do it properly and professionally. Everybody said that in order to stop it, we've all got to play fairly. And the attitude now is that we've got to get it sorted. There's a real realisation that the game needs fixing. And it does. If a few owners dropped dead or got bored with it, the league would be in trouble.

"Premier Rugby have been given the backing of the owners. I think the job now is to make it so onerous to cheat, it's just not worth cheating. The game does need to sort itself out. We (collectively) lost 50 million pounds last year and that is currently being covered by a load of idiot owners, one of which is me. But if those losses become 100 million, and then 150 million and then 200 million, there aren't going to be that many people who either can or want to be able to afford it. So we have got to protect it."