IRB rejigs funds after RWC row
Wellington - The International Rugby Board (IRB) has agreed to give top-tier nations extra funds to help cover the cost of competing at the Rugby World Cup, officials in Australia and New Zealand said on Thursday.
New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) chief executive Steve Tew put the issue on the agenda during last year's tournament by threatening to pull the All Blacks from the 2015 World Cup if no action was taken.
Tew had complained the NZRU lost money every time the quadrennial tournament was staged as the Tri-nations southern hemisphere series had to be shortened to avoid fixture clashes, reducing television revenue and gate receipts.
He said the IRB this week agreed to give New Zealand an extra three million pounds ($4.8 million) from Rugby World Cup revenue, taking its total cut from the 2015 tournament in England to 7.5 million pounds.
In addition, Tew said the IRB would pay up to 10 million pounds to the four countries involved in the southern hemisphere competition to cover losses caused by curtailing the series in 2015.
The Tri-nations series has been renamed the Rugby Championship this year after Argentina joined New Zealand, South Africa and Australia in the competition.
Tew said he was satisfied the NZRU's concerns had been heard.
"The increased distribution of RWC revenue, coupled with the ability to claw back some of the lost revenue from Test matches, is a significant help," he said.
Australian Rugby Union (ARU) chief John O'Neill said his organisation would also receive an extra three million pounds and the new IRB funding allocations meant it was "better placed" financially.
He said the IRB has also agreed to examine a ban on teams promoting their sponsors at the Rugby World Cup, a move designed to prevent the tournament's official sponsors being overshadowed by rival companies.
"In the past, (team sponsors) have had limited visibility during the Rugby World Cup," he said.
"But if there is a move towards the FIFA World Cup model, where the commercial partners of national unions can have association at training, on training kit and on media backdrops, for instance, it will be a significant fillip for them."