Cash strapped rugby clubs across south-west Wales are set to save thousands of pounds a season thanks to a groundbreaking new kit deal announced today by Ospreys chiefs.
Bosses have teamed up with kit supplier Kooga and primary sponsors npower renewables for an exciting new initiative that they estimate could save clubs and schools in the region more than £100,000.
Under the terms of the deal, clubs and schools purchasing rugby kit through the Ospreys will receive a sizeable discount on Kooga playing strip. The scheme, which was unveiled to member clubs at a Liberty Stadium meeting recently, will be run by the Ospreys on a not-for-profit basis, with new staff being recruited specifically to administer the scheme.
Ospreys Managing Director Roger Blyth explained:
"â¬ÅWe are delighted to be able to announce details of this fantastic offer that is open to every rugby club or school in the Ospreys region. We have long prided ourselves on the strength of our community work and we believe that this arrangement fits comfortably within our overall strategy of working for, and with, every club within the region.
"â¬ÅThere are 72 member clubs in our region and all of them operate sides from junior level through to the senior men"â¬â¢s team. With a potential saving to the clubs per set of playing kit of between £300 and £500, a club operating just four teams would be looking at saving as much as £2,000. If every club in the region was to take us up on that offer then you are looking at total savings to clubs in our region of almost £150,000, which is a phenomenal amount.
"â¬ÅWhen you add in the many schools across the region that are also able to take advantage of this discount, you will see that the potential savings is far in excess of that sum. This is money that can then be used elsewhere to help develop rugby at grass roots level, where it is needed most, and will make a significant difference in local communities the length and breadth of Ospreylia.
"â¬ÅThis is an ongoing initiative that will continue to operate beyond this summer. As the first deal of its kind in British rugby it is yet another example of the innovative ways that we are working with our member clubs for the good of the game across the whole of our region."â¬Â
Clubs and schools taking advantage of the deal will receive high quality Kooga branded equipment similar to that worn by the Ospreys themselves. The playing kit will be supplied numbered up with club and sponsors logos as required. In addition to this, the shirts will feature the Ospreys "â¬Ëmask"â¬â¢ logo and npower renewables branding on the collar, helping to strengthen the links between the region, its sponsor and its member clubs.
Roger Blyth added:
"â¬ÅWe have already taken orders from schools and clubs within the region who see the benefits of this initiative. Not only are we providing a substantial cost saving that will free up much needed cash to be spent elsewhere, we are also making a huge statement of intent to everyone in the region; we want you to be a part of our success in every way and we are prepared to back our words with actions that really do make a difference to member clubs.
"â¬ÅWe are grateful to both Kooga and npower renewables for their support in getting this scheme off the ground. There is a cost to the Ospreys in administering this initiative, but we consider it a worthwhile investment that will see a number of clubs kick off the 2007-08 season in a new kit that proudly displays their affiliation to the Ospreys. We will be delighted if the scheme proves so popular that we find ourselves in the position that we have to take on extra staff to administer it, as that will mean that a huge number of schools and clubs will be benefiting financially from what is a truly outstanding offer."â¬Â
Mark Legerton from npower renewables said:
"The Ospreys have a strong commitment to supporting and developing their local communities, and this has always been core to the npower renewables sponsorship of the club. This excellent initiative to enable all clubs and schools in the Ospreys region to source high quality kit at discounted rates is one of numerous ongoing activities being promoted by Ospreys and npower renewables to support the sustainable development of grassroots rugby throughout Ospreylia."
Asda League Five South West side Neath Athletic RFC is one of the clubs to have already taken advantage of the new initiative. Treasurer Mike Doyle gave the new scheme the thumbs up, saying:
"â¬ÅThis is a fantastic new initiative from the Ospreys that will benefit clubs and schools right across the region. As anyone who has ever been involved in running any kind of sports teams will testify, one of the biggest financial drains is kit, and with this scheme, the Ospreys have offered practical assistance that will see teams taking to the pitch in quality kit that bears the region"â¬â¢s logo.
"â¬ÅWe have already placed an order for two sets of jerseys for the senior side next season, saving over £400 on what we would otherwise have been paying out, and we are looking forward to taking delivery in June. The knock on effect is that we are already looking at other ways in which we can spend the money saved. We are also looking into ordering new strips for our junior sides, which will mean we make even bigger savings, freeing up more money to spend elsewhere. Once again, the Ospreys are leading the way when it comes to engaging hearts and minds in the region.
"â¬ÅI get the feeling that next season, the Ospreys logo will be a regular sight at rugby grounds across the regions as I suspect the offer will be taken up by a huge number of clubs. I can see no reason why anyone involved with a local club wouldn"â¬â¢t want to take advantage of the scheme."â¬Â