Rugby players being forced to choose between money and tests
The Rugby Players Association says fundings models need to change to help players from second-tier nations, who are being offered less money by their clubs if they choose to compete in Rugby World Cup.
The International Rugby Players Association says it's time for World Rugby to reassess the way it funds second tier nations, to ensure their best players can afford to take part in the World Cup.
Manu Samoa lock Daniel Leo told Planet Rugby this week that some Pacific Island players face losing up to 40 percent of their club salary by opting to play in the global tournament.
Players Association Executive Director Rob Nichol told Vinnie Wylie the issue is happening around the world and will only get worse.
ROB NICHOL: It puts them in a really difficult position. They want to play for their country, they want to attend a Rugby World Cup but the reality is, unless you are playing for one of the top nations, who have an independent and strong revenue stream and contracting model and are able to pay their international players something that is reasonable, unless you're a part of those particular teams effectively it costs you money to attend a World Cup, and where it costs you is lost wages or lost contract opportunities with your club game. Everyone empathises with the players: ourselves, World Rugby empathise with the situation and certainly I think you've got to empathise with the clubs as well - it's not easy for them - so we need a solution. It's a commercial problem - make no bones about that - and it's going to remain and quite possibly get worse until we come up with a commercial solution, and we believe, from a players perspective, that needs to be driven by Rugby World Cup itself and World Rugby.
VINNIE WYLIE: So are we talking compensation in some way?
RN: You can look at it as compensation or you can recognise that for Rugby World Cup to continue to grow and develop its legacy and its commercial success, and bear in mind 2015 Rugby World Cup will be by far and away the most successful commercial Rugby World Cup of all time, and it just continues to grow if you like, then it's going to have to ensure that it maintains its integrity and, if anything, it grows its value in terms of being recognised as the world's premier tournament where the very best teams come to compete and those teams are made up of the very best players that are available. If you are in the top seven or eight countries in the world they have revenue streams and they have finances that allow them to afford to contract and pay their players to play for them but if you're in the other twelve to thirteen teams those finances aren't really available. At the end of the day, from a Rugby World Cup perspective, they are generating a lot of money in this tournament and that money, whilst at the moment it all goes back to World Rugby, and World Rugby have their models for distributing it, I think it's time to relook at that distribution model and say, well actually, some of the commercial proceeds from Rugby World Cup need to be invested in insuring that we maintain the integrity of the tournament by allowing other countries, that don't have those revenue streams, some funds to be able to contract their players so that the clubs don't have to pay them to play for their country. The country itself can actually say well it's ok if you take a hit on your club contract [because] we actually have funds from Rugby World Cup that we can pay to ensure that you are not out of pocket. It just does seem bizarre that you're going to have a group of players, in around about twelve to thirteen of the teams competing in the World Cup, and it's going to cost them personally to play in a tournament that is generating well in excess of 170 million pounds profit.
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