SANZAAR shoots down Aussie rumours
REACTION: SANZAAR has poured cold water on the suggestion coming out of Australia that South Africa will be shut out of future tournaments.
Weekend media reports suggested a possible trans-Tasman tournament could be started between neighbours New Zealand and Australia, which have both seen significant drops in new infections, started easing strict lockdown rules.
In a strongly-worded media release on Monday SANZAAR took aim at what it described as “misleading information and speculation” regarding suggestions in various media articles over the weekend about the future structure of SANZAAR and indeed tournament formats for Super Rugby.
“Whilst it is acknowledged that the impact of COVID-19 has presently brought unprecedented change to the world of rugby as we have known it, any changes to the Super Rugby structure this year and into the future are matters that are currently being discussed in detail by all the joint-venture, national union stakeholders: Argentina, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa,” the statement said.
“The stakeholders are all committed to the joint-venture through to 2030 and once consensus is agreed upon by all the stakeholders it will then be communicated by the SANZAAR Board.”
Super Rugby is set to change to a 14-team round-robin tournament from next season with the exclusion of the Sunwolves, moving away from the much-maligned conference model of recent seasons.
New Zealand Rugby and South Africa Rugby have both signed on the dotted line for broadcast deals up till 2025 – based on that format.
However, Rugby Australia was on the verge of finalising its own negotiations under that same structure before the sport was shut down because of COVID-19.
This year – if and when the green light is given to commence the playing of rugby matches in the various stakeholder territories – there will be a strong ‘domestic focus’ in each territory.
SANZAAR said it will in due course make the appropriate announcements on the restart of rugby matches.
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“Having spoken with my SANZAAR Board members I can confirm that none of the suggested models or structures that have been commented on recently, such as stand-alone Trans-Tasman formats, have been agreed by any of the SANZAAR unions individually or collectively,” SANZAAR CEO Andy Marinos said.
“All such reports are merely speculative and have no basis to them.
“This is not to say that we are not having realistic discussions on what may have to eventuate should COVID-19 restrictions continue beyond 2020.
“We are presently looking in detail at various competition formats but any agreed format will include teams from all four stakeholder national unions.
“Due to uncertainty over what various government restrictions, if any, may look like next year including international travel, no date has been set yet as to when a decision will be made on 2021 and beyond. A major consideration is that we also have an obligation to discuss any contingencies with our Broadcaster partners in the first instance after which we will make public comment.”