Australia, NZ hail new World Cup deal

Australia, NZ hail new World Cup deal
By Reuters

17/05/2012 at 16:57Updated 17/05/2012 at 17:01

Australia and New Zealand, the top two rugby nations by world ranking, have welcomed a new financial model for World Cup revenue set to boost their shares of takings from the quadrennial showpiece.

The sports global governing body, the International Rugby Board, announced the new model at a meeting in Dublin this week which promised an additional £50m for the game's development over 2012-2015.

New Zealand, which hosted last year's World Cup, threatened to boycott the 2015 tournament in Britain over revenues, claiming it had cost the union £6.25m due to restrictions on sponsorship and foregone revenues from the abridged Tri-Nations rugby competition.

New Zealand stood to benefit to the tune of an extra £3m, the New Zealand Rugby Union said in a statement.

"This is on top of the £4.5m received for the 2011 tournament, making a total of £7.5m for RWC 2015," it said.

The IRB had also set aside £10m to offset the impact of the World Cup on the Rugby Championship tournament on the four competing nations: Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Argentina.

The Rugby Championship, like the Tri-Nations in previous World Cup years, is likely to be cut back in 2015 to accommodate the World Cup's scheduling.

"This is a great result for the development of rugby around the world," said NZRU chief Steve Tew. "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."

Australia, which claimed a £10m shortfall due to last year's World Cup, had also had their share of revenues boosted to £7.5m over the period from the 2011 tournament to the 2015 edition.

"We are far better placed now," Australian Rugby Union Managing Director and CEO John O'Neill said in a statement.

Sponsorship restrictions at the World Cup remain a sticking point, but both unions said the IRB Council had agreed to review them.

"If there is a move more 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," O'Neill said, referring to the soccer World Cup.

"Overall, the financial package and the potential for some relaxation around the commercial rules is very satisfying. We have worked hard for these outcomes."