SA Rugby won’t be bamboozled by money

28 February 2019 - 15:57 By Liam Del Carme
President Mark Alexander of South African Rugby during the South African national mens rugby team capping ceremony at The Pivot Conference Centre, Tsogo Sun Montecasino on June 09, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
President Mark Alexander of South African Rugby during the South African national mens rugby team capping ceremony at The Pivot Conference Centre, Tsogo Sun Montecasino on June 09, 2018 in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Image: Sydney Seshibedi/Gallo Images

SA Rugby won’t be bamboozled by money.

That’s the assurance that its president Mark Alexander gave as talk around the proposed World League and it’s anticipated impact on the game escalated dramatically on Thursday.

The World League‚ according to details that have emerged‚ will see a radical reorganisation of the international rugby calendar as 12 participants made up of teams from the Six Nations‚ the Rugby Championship as well as Japan and the United States vie for honours on an annual basis.

The initial agreement is said to be for 12 years with no opportunity for promotion-relegation which means the Pacific Island nations would effectively be limited to competing against second tier nations.

They are of course likely to play tier one nations like South Africa and New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup.

The islands nations‚ understandably‚ are spewing fire with a call for a boycott of the Rugby World Cup later this year emerging from some quarters.

Apart from the controversial exclusion of Fiji‚ Samoa and Tonga‚ several high profile players have also voiced reservations about the venture.

They warned player welfare is at risk as the competition‚ which will be played in designated windows in the middle and at the end of the year is expected to take an even heavier physical toll on the game’s elite.

World Rugby‚ the game’s governing body‚ has been accused of greed as details of the proposed League started circulating.

Reports suggest participating teams would earn between $10m (R139m) and $14m (R195m) per annum.

Alexander said however that nothing was finalised and that much of the details still have to be thrashed out.

“Nothing has been agreed upon. This is still a work in progress. There are lots of proposals and nothing is concrete.

“We haven’t decided anything as a federation as we don’t have a proposal to discuss.”

Asked whether SA Rugby had consulted with their players‚ Alexander said: “there is nothing to talk to them about.

"These proposals still have to be workshopped before we can consult.”

A key component of the new competition will be the broadcast deal negotiated by World Rugby.

The World League is supposed to launch in 2020 but they will have to have a broadcast deal in place before the new Six Nations and Rugby Championship broadcast deals are finalised.

“We will have to go on like it is business as usual‚” said Alexander.

“We can’t stall and wait. We have to look at a broadcast deal for our existing commitments.”

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