RFU tells New Zealand to 'build a bigger stadium' if it wants more money

England last toured New Zealand in 2014. Photo / Greg Bowker
England last toured New Zealand in 2014. Photo / Greg Bowker

Ian Ritchie, the chief executive of the Rugby Football Union, has rejected the notion that Twickenham match revenues should be shared with southern-hemisphere opponents, suggesting that they should "go build a stadium" if they want to improve their finances.

It has long been a complaint of New Zealand and Australia that they suffer financially by comparison with the European powerhouses such as France and England, and New Zealand have made big play of the market value of the All Blacks. There have been reports that a fee of up to £3 million might be demanded for games outside the traditional international window.

Ritchie, though, has left them in no doubt as to the possibility of sharing the money from a Test at Twickenham - around £10 million.

"Of course they say they want more money, but there is nothing to stop Australia or New Zealand building a stadium," said Ritchie. "Go build a stadium if you want to increase your revenue growth. We have all been through it here in Ireland, Wales, Scotland and ourselves, incurring debt on stadium build in order to reap the benefits.

"We didn't get anything out of going to Australia in June. And ditto from the Lions. I can't see the case for arguing the other way. Of course we should get a return on Twickenham from the money that the RFU has put in. We keep what we make to put back into the game. As for their lack of sustainability, I don't see a lot of problems for them in terms of our difficulty in beating southern-hemisphere teams."

Ritchie also put paid to any possibility of the game adopting a southern-hemisphere calendar as a solution to the vexed issue of a global season. "The southern hemisphere don't want to play in their summer and we don't in ours," he said. "The Six Nations and the autumn internationals are important bed-rocks, so we don't anticipate change there. The [focus] of discussion is on the summer [June], although one year will be a Lions and another a World Cup. Discussions are ongoing."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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