A couple of years ago, I wrote a blog about Samoa's proposed boycott of the England friendly over a lack of compensation to the Samoan players. I didn't agree with the boycott, however I did agree that the players deserved better compensation from the richest governing body in rugby.
Now history is repeating itself with Fiji, with a reported £400 per player payment as opposed to £22'000 per match that the England players now reportedly earn.
I'm well aware that there is no obligation for the RFU to pay anything to a touring side, but for the sides from the emerging nations, where there is little money for the touring sides, surely SOMETHING can be put into place to help out not only the players, but the Unions involved as well. This should be part of the plan to grow rugby and lead it's global expansion, not just another way of adding another 0 on the RFU's profit margins.
Twickenham seats 82'000, I know the tickets for this match were reduced, but let's say an average of £40 a ticket, that's 3.28 MILLION pounds.Add in a modest £10 per person in the bar and you have another 820k in the coffers. I'd imagine the likes of O2, Guinness, Dominoes and allt he other varied food and drinks stalls in the grounds pay a decent pitch fee, I'll go low again and say 500k, so far we're at a modest estimate of 4.5 million pounds income. I can't guess the expenses for wages, lighting, insurance et al, so let's just say 2 million. Leaves 2.5 million quid. Oh. PLUS TV money, PLUS advertising revenue..... Point I'm making, there is a WHOLE lotta money for the RFU in this match. Players from both sides put their bodies on the line and give up their time for the game to happen, so surely fair compensation is a given! ONE England player with the 22k appearance fee earns more than the Fijian 23. Ridiculous.
We're going to get to a situation where sides like Samoa, Fiji, Tonga et al will refuse to play the 'big' nations. It's a very one way relationship. Most sides International teams have a repatriated Pacific Islander on the books, very few of the 'big' nations go to the Pacific Islands to play, there is no reciprocal way for sides like Fiji to make the big bucks that get's made by the likes of the RFU, so HOW can they be expected to grow? How can they entice players to stop going to other countries to play? At the moment, they can't.
And that is why rugby will keep it's elitist reputation.
(NZ Herald story available here http://m.nzherald.co.nz/sport/news/article.cfm?c_id=4&objectid=11748555)