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VIDEO: Alexander spits the dummy over SARU 'snitches'

South African Rugby Union President Mark Alexander has spat the dummy over franchise officials who have leaked sensitive information to the media.

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Alexander, addressing a media briefing to reveal Rassie Erasmus’ new-look coaching panel to the public, was asked about the growing firestorm between SARU and the four main franchises – Stormers, Sharks, Lions and Bulls – over Test match guarantees.

Weekend media reports highlighted the disharmony over the millions demanded by SARU for the rights to host Test matches this year.

SARU is asking for ZAR85-million in guarantees for the rights to host Test matches – ZAR20-million for the All Black Tests at Ellis Park and Cape Town, ZAR15-million for the Ireland Tests at Loftus Versfeld and Kings Par. At the same time, the Pumas are expected to fork out ZAR10 million to host a Test against Argentina and the Cheetahs ZAR5-million to host Portugal.

This will come to a head at a meeting in Johannesburg on Thursday – where SARU plans to outline the ASG equity deal and hopefully get permission from the 14 domestic unions to move forward with it.

This dissensus will be a precursor to the awards ceremony, also in Johannesburg, where the country’s best players will be rewarded for their achievements in 2023.

The Test match guarantee dispute has been simmering since the foursome sent a letter to SARU some three weeks ago – making it clear they have sought ‘legal opinion’ on the matter.

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Alexander said they ‘strategically’ allocated Tests to the unions as a ‘financial boost’ to those franchises.

“It is to assist them to generate additional revenue,” Alexander started off with his response.

“We are unique in this regard,” he said, adding: “We are the only national union that allocates Tests in this manner.

“We don’t need to do that.

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“Test matches last year earned £48-million [ZAR1140-million] for the RFU [England’s national body]. The Irish Rugby Union [earned] €43-million [ZAR873-million from Tests]. Wales [also earned] £48-million [ZAR1140-million].

“We are more than generous to assist our franchises,” Alexander said.

(SARU President Mark Alexander spits the dummy over the leaking of confidential information to the media …)

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However, the SARU boss then expressed his “shock” at the fact that information about the disputation was being leaked to the media.

He said the franchises could have talked to them first, although @rugby365com has it on good authority that the four main franchises did send a letter to SARU three weeks ago.

“That [leaking to the media] we will deal with at the members’ forum on Thursday,” he continued.

“We thought we were assisting them and it was goodwill to allocate Tests.

“Around the world that [Test matches] are part of the [national] unions’ main revenue stream.”

He questioned the SA unions’ decision to complain about paying for the right to host Tests.

“What is a Test guarantee for? It is because we have to pay for the Springboks, we have to pay for our guests, we have to pay for the activation of the Test venues, and all the other stuff that goes around.

“There is costs involved.

“The number we are asking for is small, considering the revenue they can generate.

“The revenue at a 50,000-seater stadium is minimum ZAR45- to ZAR50-million.

“To get an extra ZAR20- to ZAR30-million for a Test is a lot of money for a union.

“We are giving it [the Test and income] to them.

“That money could be shared with all 14 [domestic] unions.

“We are assisting the bigger unions because we understand they are the golden goose, because they play at a different level.

“However, to deal with that in the media is sad and we will deal with that at our members’ forum.”

@king365ed
@rugby365com

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