New Zealand Rugby boosts All Blacks’ pay pack­ets

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

WELLING­TON:

Captain Kieran Read is likely to be­come the first All Black to earn more than NZ$1 mil­lion (US$720,000) per sea­son in pure salary af­ter New Zealand Rugby agreed a ma­jor pay boost un­der a col­lec­tive agree­ment with its Play­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion.

In a move de­tailed yes­ter­day, NZR as agreed to boost its player pay­ment pool by $70 mil­lion (US$50 mil­lion) from $120 mil­lion (US$86 mil­lion) to $190 mil­lion (US$136 mil­lion) over the next three years.

The boost rec­og­nizes in­creases in spon­sor­ship and broad­cast revenue, in­clud­ing an es­ti­mated $40 mil­lion (US$29 mil­lion) wind­fall from next year’s Bri­tish and Irish Li­ons Tour, and is de­signed to pro­tect New Zealand’s lead­ing play­ers from raids by over­seas clubs.

Read comes off con­tract next year and is poised to an­nounce a new deal through the 2019 Rugby World Cup which could take him through the $1 mil­lion bar­rier.

For­mer captain Richie McCaw and star fly­half Dan Carter are thought to have earned more than $1 mil­lion from salaries and en­dorse­ments but Read’s seven-figure pay­ment would be salary alone, be­fore other earn­ings.

Many play­ers will benefit as New Zealand Rugby has set aside $24.8 mil­lion (US$17.8 mil­lion) for top-ups to play­ers salaries from Su­per Rugby and pro­vin­cial con­tracts, an in­crease of $8.9 mil­lion (US$6.4 mil­lion) on the pre­vi­ous col­lec­tive. Player revenue-shar­ing amounts to around 36.5 per­cent of NZR’s in­come from broad­cast­ing and spon­sor­ship.

“We’re re­ally pleased to be in a po­si­tion where the game has grown its revenue over­all,” con­tracts man­ager Chris Len­drum said. “This col­lec­tive was about de­liv­er­ing to the play­ers their fair share of that money be­cause they’ve been so im­por­tant earn­ing it and then de­ter­min­ing what the most ef­fi­cient way to spend all that money was.”

Lock Brodie Retallick and winger Ju­lian Savea are thought to be among the fron­trank of earn­ers in the cur­rent All Blacks team at around $800,000 (US$576,000) an­nu­ally. But rich over­seas clubs con­tinue to pur­sue New Zealand’s top play­ers and the lat­est in­creases re­flect NZR’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to re­pel those of­fers.

Full­backs Is­rael Dagg and Ben Smith and fly­half Aaron Cru­den have been mostre­cently linked with moves to clubs in France and Bri­tain.

“It’s al­ready come into play with the de­ci­sions of some of the se­nior play­ers over the past 12 months. We’re in a po­si­tion where we can of­fer con­sid­er­ably more for those play­ers than the equiv­a­lent point four or five years ago and that’s mak­ing life a lot eas­ier for us at that level. But there are still chal­lenges and one or two of those play­ers may still go. That’s just the way it is for us.

“They might be look­ing at any­where from 30 to 50 per cent in­crease in to­tal pay­ment lev­els. We think that makes us more com­pet­i­tive prob­a­bly with the English mar­ket but to a lesser ex­tent Ja­pan, Ire­land and France. That’s al­ways a mov­ing feast.”

NZR has also an­nounced an in­crease from $3.7 mil­lion ((US$2.6 mil­lion) to $9.8 mil­lion (US$7 mil­lion) in its fund to re­ward se­nior play­ers who re­main in Su­per Rugby to help de­velop younger play­ers. That in­cludes a one-off pay­ment of $35,000 (US$25,000) to play­ers with more than five sea­sons in Su­per Rugby. — AP

LON­DON: In this file photo, New Zealand’s Kieran Read pauses dur­ing the Rugby World Cup semi­fi­nal match be­tween New Zealand and South Africa at Twick­en­ham Sta­dium in Lon­don. Read is likely to be­come the first All Black to earn more than $1 mil­lion per sea­son af­ter New Zealand Rugby agreed a ma­jor boost in salaries un­der a col­lec­tive agree­ment with its Play­ers’ As­so­ci­a­tion. — AP

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