Saru will argue next month, in a yet-to-be-drafted document they will present at a chief executives’ meeting, that they retain hosting rights to high-profile Tests and are not obliged to sell them to provincial unions as is the current practice.
This, they say, will enable them to divide profits from Tests equally among the 14 provincial affiliates. They hope that, in the long run, this will help bridge the gap between rich and poor unions.
Saru intend hosting Tri-Nations matches and other Tests at World Cup venues in Soweto, Cape Town and Durban.
But the four big unions – Western Province, the Blue Bulls, the Sharks and the Golden Lions – have expressed reservations about adopting a model that will preclude them from hosting Tests and harvesting the potential profits.
Saru will have to amend their constitution to push through the move – for which they need the support of 75% – that is, 10 – of their provincial affiliates. The constitution dictates that individual unions have to agree to all Tests played within their geographical borders.
The vote of the medium-sized Free State Rugby Union is therefore crucial to the outcome.
“If we are guaranteed R3-million or R4-million for Tests every year and get to host one of the smaller ones every second year or so, we’re in,” said Free State Rugby Union chief executive Harold Verster.
But Theuns Roodman, WP Rugby Football Union’s chief executive, holds a different view.
He said: “The provincial unions have the expertise to host Tests and I doubt Saru do. I can’t see how WP will support a proposal like that.”
He added that WP were still in discussions with the operators of the Cape Town Stadium about becoming a full-time tenant. “There are issues such as the limited number of suites at the Cape Town Stadium. They have 110 and Newlands has 350.”
Golden Lions chief executive Manie Reyneke was equally lukewarm about the Saru proposal. “I doubt we would support it. Tests are the lifeblood of the unions. To take it away would have serious implications.”
The Lions successfully staged last weekend’s Test in Soweto but Reyneke cautioned that no lasting conclusions should be drawn from that.
The Lions, too, are considering an offer to move from their traditional base to Soweto but Reyneke said before a decision is reached they would have to conclude talks with an equity partner.
This article was written by Liam Del Carme and is courtesy of www.timeslive.co.zaTweet