RFU chief slams NZ revenue sharing idea

The head of English rugby union has told New Zealand and Australia to “go and build a bigger stadium” if they wish to boost their profits.

Ian Ritchie, the Rugby Football Union’s (RFU) chief executive, said he will oppose the idea of sharing the vast revenues generated by autumn Twickenham internationals with the cash-strapped southern hemisphere associations.

Talks are taking place regarding the sport’s global calendar beyond 2019, with the New Zealand Rugby Union calling for a cut from the revenue the All Blacks generate during their northern hemisphere tours.

However, in an interview with the Daily Telegraph newspaper, Ritchie ruled out any changes to the financial “bedrocks” of the Six Nations and November Tests that have helped make the RFU the richest union in the world.

“If we manage to sell out 82,000 here it’s because of our efforts and because we’ve invested in the stadium,” said Ritchie. “If you look at the amount of money the RFU has spent on Twickenham … of course we should get a return on that.

“Of course they would say they want more money. There is nothing to stop Australia or New Zealand building a [bigger] stadium. Go and build a stadium if you want to increase your revenue growth.

“When we went to Australia in the summer we didn’t get anything out of that. I didn’t ask for a revenue share from Australia. And ditto from the Lions. So I don’t see why there is a particularly strong case for arguing the other way. I’ve not seen a lot of problems with their lack of sustainability in terms of our difficulties in beating southern hemisphere teams.”

The Stadium Business reported yesterday that plans for a new stadium in Christchurch are “on hold” after the loss of local authority support.

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