UAR President urges players to usher in professionalism
Argentine Rugby Union (UAR) president Luis M. Gradín has admitted that Argentina must have a professional national team but also confirmed that the professional game won't arrive in Argentine just yet.
After the successful performance in the RWC '99, Gradin promised some changes for the coming season. "Players from the Pumas squad deserve better pay and facilities, but the professional era can't just arrive in Argentina via a decision by the UAR. First the players must convince their clubs that it will work", Gradin said.
The UAR president went on to explain that for the 2000 season the Pumas pay will increase 100 per cent. "They will recive $200 per day on tour and $50 for practice sessions in Argentina. Also we are trying allow the players to make money with their image".
Gradin said that "today it is not possible to have a complete professional rugby set-up because our country has important economic troubles. Nobody will come knocking on the door of the UAR and say, 'here, have $3m ".
The president also said that he would have liked to have kept Alex Wyllie with the Pumas for one more year. If it was not for the former All Black's contract with the Irish club Clontarf. "I would have preferred to have Alex as the main coach, with 3 or 4 younger Argentines as part of his coaching team. He will have nothing to do from May to October, when we will really need his services".
Anyway Gradin refused to comment on rumours about links with the ex-French coach Jean Claude Skrela but immediately confirmed that "the Pumas need to work with a foreign coach and I like the New Zealand school, but is true that many people in Argentina admire the French style of rugby. And of course, Skrela is free now".