Australia supports NZ in World Cup changes

By Neil Sands, Neil Sands is a Roar Rookie

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    Australia on Thursday backed New Zealand’s call for changes to international rugby financing, but stopped short of following the All Blacks’ threat to boycott the 2015 World Cup.

    Australian Rugby Union (ARU) chief executive John O’Neill described commercial arrangements surrounding the Rugby World Cup as “the elephant in the room”, saying they forced major unions into the red every four years.

    O’Neill said his New Zealand counterpart Steve Tew’s criticisms of how the International Rugby Board (IRB) handled commercial issues arising from the tournament were “real, substantial and, importantly, not new”.

    “As Steve Tew correctly pointed out, the current economic model is unsustainable and unacceptable,” he said.

    “We look to the IRB to resolve these issues urgently because, as a national union, the ARU is unable to continue making these significant losses every four years.”

    Tew said this week that current arrangements penalised major unions because Test schedules were curtailed in World Cup years — costing TV revenues and gate receipts — and teams could not promote their sponsors at the tournament.

    He said competing at the 2011 World Cup had put a $NZ13 million ($A10.4 million) dent in the New Zealand Rugby Union’s coffers and raised the prospect of pulling the All Blacks from the 2015 tournament if no solution was found.

    O’Neill did not go that far, but said the IRB needed to recognise that the major unions, or tier-one nations, underpinned the commercial success of the Rugby World Cup.

    He said the ARU revenues were down $A16 million this year because of the World Cup and the combined figure for all tier-one nations was STG48 million ($A77 million).

    “(This) impacts on ARU’s ability to promote and develop the game in our country and our region,” he said, adding that he hoped an IRB review scheduled for completion in May would fix the problem.

    O’Neill said the World Cup should be rescheduled so it did not clash with the southern hemisphere’s Tri Nations and Super Rugby competitions or the Six Nations and European Cup in the north.

    International Rugby Players’ Association executive director Rob Nichol also backed Tew’s criticism but said the IRB and national unions needed to consult with players about any changes.

    “They risk coming up with their model in May 2012 and the players saying, ‘no we don’t like that’,” he told the Dominion Post newspaper.

    Nichol said he submitted a revenue-sharing proposal to the IRB before the tournament but the sport’s governing body rejected it and threatened a player lock-out unless his organisation dropped the scheme.

    All Blacks hooker Keven Mealamu has described the possibility of a New Zealand boycott in 2015 as “devastating” but assistant coach Steve Hansen said on Thursday that the team would support Tew if it came to the crunch.

    “If that was what was deemed to be the right thing to help the game, then that’s what you do,” he told reporters.

    The New Zealand Herald lambasted Tew for “throwing a shroud of negativity” over the tournament and dismissed the idea the All Blacks would not travel to England in 2015.

    “That proposition is absurd, and so too is the timing and much of the tenor of Mr Tew’s remarks,” it said in an editorial.

    © AFP 2018

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    The Crowd Says (8)

    • September 30th 2011 @ 5:45am
      Moaman said | September 30th 2011 @ 5:45am | ! Report

      I think if Australia back NZ to the hilt….there would be more chance they will be listened to.The IRB needs a shake-up and it is long-overdue.The farcical handling of the “minnows” in this RWC is reason alone to review their practices.

    • September 30th 2011 @ 7:56am
      thurl said | September 30th 2011 @ 7:56am | ! Report

      Read this by Stephen Jones.

      Fair enough to bag Kiwi arrogance. The ABs are the worlds #1 team and that does Illicit a fair amount of arrogance from us, but his rant about league is breathtakingly arrogant. Talk about the pot…

      Stephen jones and Brian Moore mis the point. This is not just a NZ problem. Its Australias and SA as well. And ultimately, that makes it the games problem. If the IRB allow any of the Sanzar nations to financially falter they lose all chace of expanding the game into Asia and the Americas

      • September 30th 2011 @ 8:29am
        katzilla said | September 30th 2011 @ 8:29am | ! Report

        He does miss the point and reasoning for Tews tirade, that being to highlight an issue and comence negotiations.
        He is right though about the World Cup carrying on without NZ should we do the unthinkable and boycott it, the only people who will belittle any world cup winner would be us, and yes I will lol.
        His take on League and the NRL final was a little insecure though, why should league rate even a mention if it didn’t scare him a little, not the comments of someone secure in their place.

    • September 30th 2011 @ 8:07am
      Riccardo said | September 30th 2011 @ 8:07am | ! Report

      I posted this in response to the Stephen Jones Article highlighted by Thurl and may be appropriate here. Sorry fellas but I’m boiling mad.

      1) It’s not just NZ. Australia at least are in exactly the same position, sorry worse to the tune of at least $16 million. One would guess the Boks are too.

      2) Negotiations behind closed doors have failed for 8 years or more and I think you’ll find it is the rich and powerful Northerners who do not want to lose a slice of their pie. If they’re profiting $240+ Million from NZ’s hosting of the RWC, imagine how much they’ll take in Old Blighty 2015. At least twice that would be my guess. Has anyone noticed that the sides to show demonstrable improvement have actually been countries with resources and closer ties to England? Why have the Pacific Island nations stagnated? Why do idiots like Stephen Jones and Mark Reason and Brian Moore blame Sanzar for this?

      3) NZ is unlikley to host a RWC again so Tew’s timing is perfect and I believe orchestrated by SANZAR to achieve a platform given ongoing frustrations.

      4) If (sorry, WHEN) NZ win the RWC (or even the Wallabies or Boks) it strengthens our position and argument. These 3 teams are some of the primary drawcards of this quaddrennial event and the AB’s are arguably the biggest earning “brand” in the game. There is no RWC with these three absent.

      5) To give you an idea of the IRB’s hypocrisy: Rob Nichol of the International Player’s Association has confirmed that the IRB threatened to lock players out if they did not ratify IRB agreements individually depsite protests from leading players.
      2 Coaches from England along with Johnny W cheat during a game ejecting one ball and replacing it with another to enhace Johnny W’s chances of success. The coaches are banned for a game or two and Johnny escapes unscathed? Yet, Tuilagi from Samoa wears a non IRB compliant mouthguard, yes a mouthguard, and is fined $10000??!!!! WTF??!!! BOTH coaches should have been ejected from the Tournament and Johnny W should be the one missing the next 2 games, at least!

      6) Tew has advised the current financial model is flawed and untenable for EVERYONE people, and he is RIGHT! How does the $240 million+ get dispersed? Churchill Cup is all I hear. Blah, blah. The AB hating fool Jones EVEN says they may look to exploit a new wealthy resourceful market in Spain given AB’s boycott? Who’s interests are best served by this?


    • September 30th 2011 @ 8:16am
      Ralph said | September 30th 2011 @ 8:16am | ! Report

      When the samoan player twittered against RWC match scheduling I didn’t have time for him on two scores.

      1. He was moaning after that fact; they had already agreed to the schedule.
      2. The timing of his complaint smacked of petulance and grand standing.

      Mr Tew has to at least fall into category two, his timing is petulant. Make your complaint in a construct way and don’t do it in the middle of a world cup.

    • September 30th 2011 @ 8:19am
      Ross said | September 30th 2011 @ 8:19am | ! Report

      There is a legitimate issue regarding revenue sharing arrangements, but Tew’s method of bring it to the fore is misguided. He has come off as though he is blackmailing the rest of the IRB- and using the RWC that the IRB gave to NZ to do it.

      I wouldn’t want the IRB’s revenues from the tournament to be diverted from the Tier 2 nations to SANZAR, but renegotiating the way test revenues are split between hosts and visitors seems fair enough.

    • September 30th 2011 @ 10:18pm
      Sylvester said | September 30th 2011 @ 10:18pm | ! Report

      Tew – petulant and misguided, or extremely shrewd? The timing was well calculated I believe. In between the France match and the quarterfinals, ie no distraction to the ABs, while gaining maximum attention by having the world’s media on the doorstep.
      Bravo Tew.

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