THE CELTIC NATIONS look set to ask for a greater share of the income generated by the Rugby World Cup, according to a report in The Times.
Ireland, Scotland and Wales have deep concerns over their financial futures with European club rugby still shrouded in doubt. It now appears that the governing bodies of rugby in the Celtic countries are hoping to offset that potential loss by increasing their split of the revenue from the World Cup.
With all three nations set for talks with the Rugby Football Union and the Italian federation in the coming days, it seems likely that they are now ready to make concessions to the English and French clubs in regards to a new European club tournament. That would certainly mean less income than is currently generated by the Heineken Cup.
As a result, the Celtic nations may have to look for alternative methods of covering their costs without having to cut back, and an improved share of the World Cup pot could be the solution.
“If Europe isn’t solved with a fair solution for the Celtic countries, the World Cup will have to be looked at from the point of view of the money it generates,” the source told The Times.
“We would have to do this otherwise the game in Ireland, Wales and Scotland would cease to exist. Ultimately this is about the survival of rugby in the Celtic unions. This is not an idle threat. It is a ‘needs must’ position.”
While this, of course, may simply be more lip service and another effort to undermine the bargaining position of the Irish, Scottish and Welsh clubs, there are genuine concerns for the financial future of rugby in all three countries. Realistically, the only outcome of this entire mess will be improved compensation for the English and French clubs and a reduction for those involved from elsewhere.
It will be interesting to discover whether any real progress is made when the RFU host the non-English and French clubs regarding their apparent willingness to make ‘concessions.’ English rugby’s governing body have been oddly quiet since their own clubs announced the creation of the Rugby Champions Cup, but we may soon find out where their intentions lie.