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Pacific Rugby Player Welfare boss Daniel Leo hopes to see the spinoffs from revenue-sharing discussions that could be a big part of the international game's post-coronavirus resumption, whenever that might be.
Leo, chief executive of the UK-based PRPW organisation which looks after the interests of players from the islands in the professional game, told Rugby Pass he could see the irony in the looming likelihood of leading southern hemisphere nations New Zealand, Australia and South Africa potentially seeking revenue-sharing deals should the scheduled November internationals go ahead.
Leo has been chasing for some time revenue-sharing arrangements for tier-2 nations when they play at the major northern unions in November, though has been consistently frustrated by a lack of progress.
However, he recognises a good chance to coat-tail on likely discussions should scheduled November tests go ahead, quite possibly as the first rugby internationals to be played post the coronavirus shutdown.
With July's planned tests, where northern nations visit the south, now heading into the highly unlikely category given the global shutdown amid the COVID-19 pandemic, there is every chance that November could present as the first chance for the resumption of inter-hemisphere international rugby.
If November's matches went ahead, they would likely take place under one-off revenue arrangements should the July matches be canned.
Test rugby at present operates under a quid-pro-quo arrangement around the July and November internationals, with the major nations retaining revenue for home matches and meeting the costs of visiting teams.
But should November's tests take place in a vacuum a new deal would have to be hammered out with all national unions desperate for revenue in the wake of the devastating shutdown for coronavirus.
"The current crisis really is a case for the tier-1 nations of 'welcome to our world'," Leo told Rugby Pass. "These kind of financial problems are what the Pacific Islands nations deal with every year. It is normal for us. What COVID-19 has done is bring the same situation to the doorsteps of the bigger nations.
"It is very easy for the tier-1 nations to ignore this kind of issue when you don't ever have to deal with it yourself, but that has now changed.
"This should be a worldwide discussion, not one only for the tier-1 nations to get through this current situation. It could be a stop-gap until unions are profitable again after COVID-19 passes but something should be written into World Rugby law that after this crisis tier-2 nations should still get a benefit from playing the bigger nations.
"We are talking about the long-term sustainability of the sport."
Leo said he had received standard "we will consider it" letters from the Six Nations and so far a lack of pickup from World Rugby bosses when seeking redress on this issue.
At present Pacific Islands nations are guaranteed no revenue when they play in the north in November because they are not part of the tier-1 agreement around tests..
SOURCE: STUFF NZ/PACNEWS
Pacific Islands News Association
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