Players want share of World Cup profits
June 13, 2010
IRPA boss Rob Nichol is set to press the IRB for a share of the profits made at the Rugby World Cup © Getty Images
The sport's leading players want a share of the profits made at next year's Rugby World Cup in New Zealand.
Rob Nichol, the New Zealand Rugby Players' Association boss, confirmed that the players were poised to ask the International Rugby Board (IRB) for a share in the tournament's profits. Nichol told the Sunday Star-Times newspaper he had asked to negotiate with the IRB on behalf of the International Rugby Players' Association, of which he is executive director.
He acknowledged the issue had the potential to be "difficult, but hopefully not". "But any discussion about finances is," he told the newspaper. "That doesn't mean we can't talk about it, and that's where we are at, at the moment."
Asked what the players wanted, Nichol said, "New Zealand, Australia and every other country is forgoing revenue generation opportunities and games in order to compete in the World Cup. Rugby World Cup generates huge proceeds off the back of being a huge commercial success.
"What happens to that money? How much goes to the development of the game, how much goes to the participating unions and how much, potentially, is set aside for the players is a discussion we need to have."
In World Cup years, the All Blacks reduce the games they play by canning the June Tests and shortening the Tri-Nations. As a result, they forgo millions in profit. The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) gets several million from the IRB for participating in the cup but that only partially offsets the losses. The reduced revenue hits the players, who are paid a percentage of the NZRU's revenue.
Nichol said the players were not the only ones worse off. "The whole game suffers. The commercial revenue the games generates funds the game at all levels. The players get 36 percent of that revenue. The rest trickles down to the grassroots and funds the game in New Zealand, so this is an issue for everyone."
The NZRU and other unions are currently negotiating terms for the next participation agreement. The players selected for the 2011 World Cup will be asked to sign that agreement.