Alexa
  • Directory of Taiwan

Clock ticking on Sanzar alliance: Hobbs

Clock ticking on Sanzar alliance: Hobbs

The Super 14 and Tri-Nations rugby competitions will fold unless differences involving South Africa, New Zealand and Australia are quickly resolved, New Zealand Rugby Union chairman Jock Hobbs said Thursday.
Hobbs said the Sanzar partners were working to preserve the southern hemisphere competitions but would have to quickly reach agreement or accept the three-nation bloc must dissolve.
"There a couple of outstanding issues. We have narrowed them down, but unless they are resolved it is likely Sanzar relationship will fold," Hobbs said during the New Zealand union's annual meeting Thursday.
"That is not our hope, that is not what we would wish for, and not what we are working towards achieving but it is a possibility."
Hobbs said New Zealand had indicated to South Africa that it preferred the continuation of the Sanzar arrangement, in which teams from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand contest the Super 14 and Tri-Nations tournaments, but was considering alternatives.
New Zealand would consider an Asia Pacific tournament, possibly including teams from Australia, New Zealand, Japan and the Pacific Islands, if South Africa continued to oppose the future expansion of the Super 14.
South Africa had indicated it would not support the enlargement of the Super 14 to include a fifth Australian team from 2010, and the expansion of the season, because of likely detrimental effects on its domestic competition, the Currie Cup.
Hobbs said New Zealand had told South Africa it would explore alternatives to the current Super 14 tournament if no agreement between Sanzar partners could quickly be reached.
"That is not our preference. Our preference is that Sanzar does stay together," Hobbs said.
"We think that is best for rugby and the best way forward. We have a couple of hurdles to get over and we have to get over them very, very quickly. Time is ticking."
The Sanzar partners are due within the next year to begin negotiations over a new broadcast contract for Super 14 and Tri-Nations matches. Revenue from broadcast rights underpins professionalism in all three nations.
Australia is pressing for the addition of a fifth Australian franchise to the Super 14 and the expansion of the season, which already runs from February to May. South Africa exposes such an expansion because it would affect the Currie Cup, which is already popular with live and television audiences.
The Sanzar partners are due by 2011 to negotiate a new broadcast contract for Super 14 and Tri-Nations rugby with News Ltd. and South Africa's SuperSport. The deal was worth $323 million when it was resigned in 2006 for a five-year period.
Slumping television and live audiences for Super 14 matches are already jeopardizing the value of a new deal and Australia and New Zealand are looking for ways to rejuvenate the competition before embarking on new rights negotiations.


Updated : 2021-10-20 07:51 GMT+08:00