ARU contract negotiating in need of an overhall

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    We all know Mark Arbib as the unseen architect of political alliances and assassinations, a king-maker and a casino peddler.

    But the powerful lobbyist also admits to a love of rugby, and earlier this year he somehow found the time to submit a corporate governance review of the ARU.

    In his report, he raised important and glaring issues and recommended logical changes which should soon be implemented.

    One of the main issues is that NSW and Queensland members are over-represented on the ARU board. As a consequence of this, there is distrust and compromised decision making due to conflicts of interest owing to state allegiances.

    This has resulted in polarisation of the ARU and Super Rugby franchises. Although paying someone to find that out is like paying someone to verify whether Bert wears a toupee, it had to be done.

    One obvious manifestation of this is the poor co-ordination between the ARU and Super teams when negotiating player contracts.

    The process involves a signed contract with the Super Rugby club which can be reneged by the player if he refuses to sign an ARU contract.

    Thanks to this two-tier contract system, clubs who are planning their season around a perceived playing roster are finding out after months of preparation that their signed players might not be there next season (Genia and Cooper at the Reds are the current examples).

    There are two obvious solutions to this:

    1. Centralised control of player contracts

    This is what Arbib suggests and would mean that every Super Rugby player is employed by the ARU and has an ARU negotiated contract.

    The New Zealand Rugby Union use this model. The advantages of it are its simplicity, and that it ensures the best people are the ones conducting contract negotiations.

    This model would involve assigning players to clubs.

    Although this would even out the talent, I am concerned about how this would be decided. Would it place too much responsibility on the ARU? And could it result in players slipping through the cracks?

    The ARU is not currently not set up to manage 150 players.

    2. De-centralised control of player contracts

    This would require an increase in the salary cap for the Super Rugby teams, and each province would compete with each other to attract the best players.

    Playing for the Wallabies could involve equal match payments for all players (with win bonuses of course).

    This would be a similar model to the NRL, which we know can be successful.

    However, increased competition or players would require more careful monitoring for cap breaches and club solvency.

    I like the idea of equal match payments for Wallaby representation as it would create more of a team atmosphere without the jealousy/disharmony of some players getting paid more to play for their country (after all, clubs would decide what a player is paid).

    To be honest, I don’t know which model is best for Australian rugby, but drawn out contract negotiations look unprofessional, occupy players’ minds when they should be concentrating on their game, and impacts clubs’ preparation and therefore their performance.

    None of this Cooper drama would have unfolded if his contract was dusted months ago (I feel for the Reds and their supporters if he does the dirty on them). Talk of Genia playing overseas because of the drawn out negotiations is insane.

    Get him on board ARU.

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    The Crowd Says (12)

    • November 22nd 2012 @ 3:51am
      kingplaymaker said | November 22nd 2012 @ 3:51am | ! Report

      Agre that the ARU are caught in a situation where they have a franchise system but can’t control how the franchises use the players (i.e. Wallabies), so don’t get the obvious benefit of having one, and yet nor do they get the benefit of having a club system where because private ownership is possible millions are poured into the game.

      • November 22nd 2012 @ 10:13am
        mikeylives said | November 22nd 2012 @ 10:13am | ! Report

        My only concerns about private ownership are that clubs may follow the European football model and try and exert influence to withold players for “friendly” internationals.

    • November 22nd 2012 @ 11:21am
      kingplaymaker said | November 22nd 2012 @ 11:21am | ! Report

      mikeylives probably the most successful set-up is the English system, where from the outset the RFU didn’t give too strong powers to the clubs in terms of player control, and so are able to keep the national squad from playing to train with the team at will.

      In fact the system is quite unfair on the clubs as the national team take the players away for far longer than is necessary.

      But does mean that millions are poured in by owners.

      That would probably be the best situation for Australia.

    • November 22nd 2012 @ 6:57pm
      AndyS said | November 22nd 2012 @ 6:57pm | ! Report

      It is a tough balance. If the players were predominantly paid by the clubs, who would go on the Spring tour? Look at McCabe – go with the Wallabies for the sake of a couple of match payments, end up injured and missing the next club season. If all your money is with the club, who would take the risk? And with no guarantee of income from internationals it becomes a direct head-to-head; club money in SR or the NH.

      Alternatively, when the players are all pre-paid by the ARU, selection on form goes out the window and you end up with players picked simply because they’ve already been paid for…

      • November 22nd 2012 @ 7:38pm
        GWS said | November 22nd 2012 @ 7:38pm | ! Report

        Aru would have to compensate

      • November 27th 2012 @ 9:56am
        mikeylives said | November 27th 2012 @ 9:56am | ! Report

        If every SUPER rugby player is paid for by the ARU, then it wouldn’t matter (not just those players that will likely represent Australia).

    • November 23rd 2012 @ 7:24am
      joeb said | November 23rd 2012 @ 7:24am | ! Report

      “Although this would even out the talent, I am concerned about how this would be decided.”

      One of the arguments in league in recent years has been this ‘evening out of talent’ assisted by the salary cap has resulted in mediocre games due to players of near equal ability cancelling each other out. For anyone who listens to Hadley and the boys on ’gb, Bozo was and is often critical of the ordinariness of too many of the games, though maybe this is not so evident now. Not sure.

      “Would it place too much responsibility on the ARU?” – At times you wonder if they could organise a chook raffle in an over-crowded aviary. Boom.

      http://www.makeitpossible.com/

      You mean ‘overhaul’ don’t you? You must have Vauxhalls on your mind, 😉

      • November 27th 2012 @ 9:59am
        mikeylives said | November 27th 2012 @ 9:59am | ! Report

        I didn’t write the Heading. The Eds did it.

    • November 23rd 2012 @ 10:45am
      Orange Peeler said | November 23rd 2012 @ 10:45am | ! Report

      Long term ARU contracts should be removed completely.
      The ARU should should only select and contract players on a yearly basis were players recieve a proportionately higher payment.
      More available player contract money should then be funnelled and dispersed into Super Rugby and more importantly Club/3 Tier level.

      • November 23rd 2012 @ 3:27pm
        joeb said | November 23rd 2012 @ 3:27pm | ! Report

        Good, now that this thing is working again – OP, yes agree. Now to see if Arbib & Cosgrove include such in their review.

        • November 23rd 2012 @ 3:38pm
          Jutsie said | November 23rd 2012 @ 3:38pm | ! Report

          The review has been conducted and the results were posted on this site a few weeks back. I think u can view it on the ARU website.

    • November 23rd 2012 @ 3:25pm
      joeb said | November 23rd 2012 @ 3:25pm | ! Report

      makes perfect sense OP.

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