Fixture list hits Australia in the pocket
December 22, 2010
Chief executive John O'Neill fears Australia's reduced fixture list will have a deep impact on the ARU's finances © Getty Images
Australia are counting the costs of a reduced fixture list in 2011 amidst fears of a A$16million black hole in the Australian Rugby Union's finances.
The Wallabies' calendar was confirmed on Monday with no fixtures against European side outside of the World Cup, which takes place in New Zealand next autumn. This year the Wallabies had seven home Tests, but they will host only three next year with no European sides touring during the northern hemisphere's summer and with the Tri-Nations teams only playing each other twice. There will also be no tour to Europe at the end of the year with the World Cup dominating the landscape.
The Sydney Morning Herald reported in May that a reduction in fixtures could lead to a A$16 million black hole for the ARU with their chief executive John O'Neill quoted as saying ''no one did a financial analysis of what this will cost''.
''Even factoring in the IRB grant of £3.5 million [$5.45 million] which we get paid, the net detriment is still A$16m,'' O'Neill said in May. ''New Zealand and South Africa have also done their numbers, and the total comes to $36m for the three [SANZAR] countries.''
The International Rugby Board ruling on international fixtures could, therefore, have a significant impact on the finances of the ARU as well as other unions and there will be pressure to avoid repeating such as situation when England host the World Cup in 2015.
The Wallabies will begin their season against Samoa at ANZ Stadium with a 2pm kick-off on Sunday July 17, as Australia play in the afternoon for the first time in six years on domestic soil.
''There will be plenty of activity around pre and post game that will deliver a great experience for the fans in general,'' ARU official Peter Jenkins told the Sydney Morning Herald. ''It gives us the opportunity to deliver a family friendly atmosphere for the opening Test match of the season. It's a massive season of opportunity for the Wallabies. To have them interact - particularly with the kids - at the front end of the season is very important.''
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
The latest Week in Pictures brings you a selection of the best snaps from around the rugby world with scantily clad ladies, O'Driscoll and snow all featuring
"If I miss the first kick of the match, it shouldn't have any impact on the second. They are different entities." Tom Hamilton talks to Northampton Saints' Stephen Myler
It's time for those running Welsh rugby to stop trying to prevent its players heading to France and to start planning a future without them, writes Martin Williamson
Paul Eddison explains how the French sold English clubs down the river and why their domestic game will go from strength to strength