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By Athenkosi Tsotsi

Sports Reporter

SA Rugby boss stands by R85-million fee for Bok Tests

'The number that we are asking for is too small, considering the revenue they can generate," said Mark Alexander.

Amid reports that unions are up in arms over SA Rugby’s request of R85-million to host six Springbok Test matches this year, the organisation’s president, Mark Alexander, has defended their stance, saying the amount they are asking for is small compared to what the unions will gain.

Alexander said on Tuesday SA Rugby were shocked to find out through the media that the unions are seeking legal advice about what SA Rugby have tabled for the hosting of Test matches.

According to News24, the rugby body are said to be asking for a total of R85-million from the six hosting unions, while the respective unions get to keep the rest of the revenue from hosting their respective Tests.

‘We are more than generous’

The Lions and Western Province are being asked to contribute R20-million each for the right to host the Tests between the Boks and All Blacks.

From July’s matches against Ireland (two Tests) and Portugal, SA Rugby are looking for R35-million with the Bulls and Sharks expected to cough up R15-million each with the Cheetahs to pay R5-million. R10-million is expected from the Pumas for hosting Argentina.  

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Alexander was bullish when asked about the fees matter, saying the rugby body are being generous to their members.

“We strategically allocated Tests to our unions, the ones with the stadiums. That was done to boost their season ticket (sales), and hospitality suites as well as to assist them in generating additional revenue,” said Alexander. 

“This standard is unique because we are the only international rugby union that allocates Tests to a member union.

“Internationally, look at what the Test revenue is bringing for organisations like the RFU (England), who last year generated £48-million, and the Irish Rugby Union, €43-million, and Wales £48-million. So, we are more than generous to assist our franchises in generating additional funds,” he said.

Talks to be held

SA Rugby and its member unions will meet on Thursday in Johannesburg to discuss the matter.

“We are having a meeting with our members at the Members Forum on Thursday and we’ll talk about this because it’s unique,” said Alexander.

“For the unions to complain about the Test guarantee; there is a cost involved, and the number that we are asking for is too small, considering the revenue they can generate,” Alexander said.

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sa rugby Springboks (Bokke/Boks)