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Rugby | SA Rugby

Big shake up looming for SARU cash distribution



While much of the news has concentrated on which two South African Super Rugby franchises that will exit the 2018 version of the competition, SARU are busy with an intricate plan to strengthen the four remaining teams in the competition that they not only are financially stable, but would also have a much better chance of keeping players in the country.

The move is part of the re-aligment of the local game that is being pushed for currently by members of the executive, which could see either the number of provincial rugby unions reduced, or a number of them becoming semi-professional.

When SARU made their R22-million loss for the last season, a telling figure in the annual report was an amount of R323-million that was distributed between the provincial unions and in many cases kept a number of them alive through some tough financial times.

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But with mounting pressures – both in terms of players being poached by overseas clubs and local financial pressure through a downturn in crowds and increased expenses to run the Super Rugby franchises, a number of these franchises have been pushing for a while now for an increased cut of the broadcasting deal in order to meet the changing demands of the game.

SARU CEO Jurie Roux confirmed to Supersport.com that in light of the financial constraints currently on SA Rugby, the funding model will have to change in the future.  In order to run the game more professionally a number of structural changes have been suggested – one of them being that the income be spent in the competitions it is generated in.

For instance, the Sanzar deal cash, which is being divided between 14 rugby unions at around R20-million each, would in future be channelled mainly to the Super Rugby regions. It is unlikely they will get the entire amount but the move would mean a significant increase in income for these unions to help compete on an international stage.

Ditto with the money generated by the Currie Cup, Supersport Challenge and other competitions within the SARU stable. In short the teams competing in the competitions will get the most benefit out of the money generated in the competition.

It is unclear when this will take place, but Roux did confirm there were moves afoot to change the structure as it currently stands.

The SARU CEO did, however, deny that some of the unions were not accountable for their share of cash received from the mother union.

“To say they aren’t accountable is wrong. And to say it is there to keep them alive, that’s a reality, but that is a reality in every sport. If you don’t take broadcast money and distribute it, then you won’t have any unions,” Roux said.

“The fair question here to ask is if the money is used in a way of promoting rugby and is it being done in the best possible way. I think where we are, in terms of the structural changes we’ve made. Most probably the money will flow in the right direction in the next year, and will probably flow in the direction of where money is earned as opposed to where money is spent.

“The finer detail of that, if I say that it will be career-limiting moves for me. The reality is that money will flow in the way it is earned and spent in the way it is earned.

“You can make your own assumptions in that. Ideally the world you want to come to is that the money is there for the Springboks and national teams and be used for that.

“Money that is there for Super Rugby must be used for Super Rugby. Money that comes in for Currie Cup rugby must be used for Currie Cup rugby and that should be the flow and that will be a natural way of addressing the issue that is there.

“That will take you away from a blanket distribution to a specified distribution that will probably influence some of the issues that you think there is.”

In future this will mean with an increased revenue stream for Super Rugby, the franchises will be able to keep a number of players in the country, as well as run their local unions more professionally to enhance the experience for fans that come to the game.



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