I was blown away when I read Sunday’s article in the NZ Herald “World Cup games plot”
Today when I read the Herald article “$500m Rugby World Cup Deficit” I was angry.
When Rugby in New Zealand made the decision to turn professional, it was a major departure from the amateur nature of the game and bound to lose some goodwill from many New Zealanders (including myself) who had freely given their time coaching Rugby teams over many years. The era of professionalism, with the idea of payments for coaches and players, brought with it a responsibility for the Rugby Union to stand on its own feet, but indeed it has stood on the feet of many others.
How well has this professionalism worked?
In 2005 it was suggested the maximum amount of public money that would be required to host the RWC would be $70m.
On 1/1/09, in a discussion on Eden Park funding for the RWC it was revealed the Government would put in $190m, NZRU (NZ Rugby Union) would put in $10m and Eden Park Trust Board would put in $12m.
On 18/5/09 an article in the Southland Times revealed the Otago Rugby Union had been bailed out by Dunedin City Council.
On 17/6/09 it was announced DCC had bought Carisbrook for $7m and a $198m roofed stadium was going ahead.
On 2/2/11 it was revealed the Waikato Rugby Union owed Hamilton City Council $900,000.
On 19/3/11 the Waikato Rugby Union was asking Hamilton City Council to write off $400,000 of its debt.
On 21/4/11 the NZRU reported a loss of $9.4m for 2010.
Ratepayers cannot afford and should not be continually levied to make up shortfalls for professional organizations unable to conduct their affairs in a profitable way.
The following brilliant commentary by Jim Hopkins on 8/4/11 sums things up nicely.