Springboks fear SANZAR split - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Springboks fear SANZAR split

19/08/2010 03:11:47 PM Comments (0)

The South African rugby's player union has warned bickering among the SANZAR partners could threaten the broadcast deals which are the "lifeline" of the game.

Divisions within the group, which has steered professional rugby in the southern hemisphere since 1996, will put at risk the livelihoods of hundreds of players in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, says Piet Heymans, head of the South African Professional Rugby Players Association.

South Africa has reportedly threatened to walk away from SANZAR over differences with the Australian Rugby Union and the New Zealand Rugby Union, threatening the future of the Tri-Nations and Super rugby competitions.

"The players view Super rugby and the Tri-Nations as the best rugby competitions in the world and also the toughest to participate in," Heymans said.

"The players are concerned that emotions are driving the current differences within SANZAR.

"Should the SANZAR partnership be dissolved it could have serious implications, not just for South African rugby but world rugby as a whole."

Heymans said professional players in South Africa, Australia and New Zealand depended on the income SANZAR derived from broadcasting deals around the Super rugby and Tri-Nations tournaments for their livelihoods.

Any dispute which dissolved SANZAR's future also threatened professionalism, he said.

"The SANZAR broadcasting agreement ... is the lifeline of South African rugby and should not unnecessarily be put at risk," he said.

"During the renewal of the SANZAR broadcast deal various alternatives were investigated and the reality is that there are not viable options that can provide the players and the public with exciting world class rugby."

Heymans said a players' voice might be needed during discussions about SANZAR's future to ensure their best interests were represented.

"It may well be in the interest of SANZAR that the players are more directly involved in the administration of SANZAR, especially when important decisions and differences are made and discussed," he said.

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