Speculation over the identity of the corporate player that helped clinched the multi-million dollar deal to bring Matt Giteau to the Western Force has put a little known Bentley-based fuel additive company Firepower in the frame.
Speculation over the identity of the corporate player that clinched the multi-million dollar deal to bring Matt Giteau to the Western Force has put a little known Bentley-based fuel additive company Firepower in the frame.
Firepower is one of the Western Force’s main sponsors, with its logo appearing on the sleeve of the Super 14 rugby club’s game day playing strip.
Sources close to the Western Force have told WA Business News that Firepower was the major contributor to the estimated $750,000 in corporate funding provided to secure Giteau’s signature.
Firepower’s website claims the company produces a range of fuel conditioners and high technology machines that enhance engine perfor-mance and reduce harmful emissions.
Timothy Johnston is the sole director of the company, owned by Firepower Holdings Ltd, which has an address in the Cayman Islands. He could not be contacted for comment.
The business distributes its products through service stations in Western Australia and also lists offices in Indonesia, Germany, Romania and Russia. It sponsors motorsport and the Tongan national rugby union team.
The connection with Mr Giteau was not confirmed by the club.
When contacted on the question of the corporate sponsor of Giteau’s contract, a Rugby WA spokesman said that third party arrangements had nothing to do with the club.
“It is an arrangement between the player’s manager and the third party,” he said.
There has been much talk over the signing of ACT Brumbies player Giteau by the Force on a multi-million dollar deal that makes him the world’s highest paid rugby player.
Giteau recently signed a $4.5 million, three-year deal with the Western Australian Super 14 franchise that has made him Australia’s highest paid footballer of any code.
Player contracts of $1 million a year or more are required to be topped up by third party interests, which throws up the spectre of ‘sky’s-the-limit’ deals determined by a player’s perceived value, and the market’s capacity to pay.
In these situations, players at the top end of the rugby pay scale have their salaries supplemented by corporate dollars.
It is believed that half of Giteau’s $1.5-million-a-year pay packet will be provided by the corporate sector, with initial speculation that members of the state’s cashed-up resources sector had provided the lucrative finishing touches to Giteau’s pay packet.
The Force’s move to sign Giteau with the help of financial assistance from a third party has upset some in rugby circles, with suggestions that cities without much corporate clout will be left behind in the race to sign the best players.