The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) has welcomed a “fair” re-structuring of the Rugby World Cup financial model that will see countries handed a significant increase in funding.
NZRU chief executive Steve Tew hit the headlines during last year’s World Cup warned that the All Blacks might not be able to afford to compete in the 2015 tournament in England due to rising costs and the loss of valuable revenue-generating Test matches in those years.
Tew and his Australian Rugby Union counterpart John O’Neill pushed for an urgent review of how World Cup revenue is distributed and those concerns led to the announcement of a new financial model earlier this week that will see the International Rugby Board invest an extra £50million in the global game between 2012 and 2015, in addition to the £150million already being invested between 2009 and 2012.
The IRB has also set up a working group composed of its own representatives and those of the unions “to consider potential changes to the Rugby World Cup 2015 commercial rules proposed by the IRB to deliver overall optimal value to Unions and the IRB without impacting the ongoing growth of the tournament commercial programme”.
Tew, who insists that the NZRU lost NZ$13m (£6.25m) in potential revenue last year due to the lack of June internationals and a shortened southern hemisphere championship, welcomed the decision. “We’re very pleased,” he said. “We think the issues that we had identified pre-Rugby World Cup last year and certainly during world cup have been worked on and we’ve got a solution which we think is fair, and certainly helpful from our point of view.”
O’Neill, whose Union posted a loss of in the region of A$16.6 (£10.4m) for last year, was equally delighted with the breakthrough. ”If you had told me beforehand this was the likely outcome, I would have signed on the spot. I’m very satisfied,” said O’Neill, who was made chairman of the IRB regulations committee.
”If we hadn’t got this result, 2015 would have been unbearable [financially]. We really had to scramble last year. We did all sorts of things to reduce the original loss ($16.6 million) to $7.5 million. So personally, this is a very satisfying outcome.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that until this week the leading Unions received A$5.6m (£3.5m) for every four-year international cycle but will now benefit from a package that will guarantee them at least A$12m (£7.5m) across the four-year cycle and an extra A$16m (£10m) to be shared among the SANZAR countries and Argentina should the Rugby Championship be affected by the scheduling of the World Cup.