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NZR to boost club funding

Women’s rugby could receive a big boost in funding announced by NZ Rugby. PHOTO/FILE

RUGBY

Wairarapa-Bush rugby clubs and referees are in line for a substantial financial boost of $7.5 million from the New Zealand Rugby [NZR] on Monday.

More than 450 community rugby clubs are set to receive the Short-term Stakeholder Investment [SSI] ranging from $10,000 to $40,000 a club, with the first round of funds to be paid by the end of October.

Most Wai-Bush clubs would expect to receive $10,000. Funding is based on the number of senior and junior players in a club, with most Wai-Bush clubs sitting in the 15-199 members range. Clubs with 200-399 members are eligible for $20,000.

Wai-Bush chief executive officer Tony Hargood emphasised that each club can decide how they use their funds but there are some definite criteria.

“There’s been a lot of talk about clubs wanting to improve lighting for night rugby, improving women’s facilities, and seating at grounds, and making the clubs welcoming,” Hargood said.

“I think the lighting is going to be huge because that is going to offer rugby seven days a week.”

Hargood said he would work with the clubs to make sure their application gets over the line, but it isn’t a complex procedure.

NZR general manager community rugby Steve Lancaster, said the distribution underlined the importance of rugby clubs to the sport.

“Central to bringing investment into the game was community rugby and the recognition that clubs are a vital part of the game. This funding is about supporting clubs to grow and giving others some short-term financial stability.”

Lancaster said clubs would be encouraged to focus investment across several key areas for the community game.

“Hosting the Rugby World Cup has the potential to be a huge boost to women and girls’ rugby, and we’d certainly like clubs to look about how they can use the investment to support this area of the game.”

The funding is part of the Silver Lake partnership with NZR, which was confirmed in July and involves an investment of $200m for a minority ownership percentage in NZR Commercial LP.

As part of this, distributions to rugby stakeholders were confirmed, including $7.5m for rugby clubs, $2m into Maori rugby, $20m into provincial unions and $900,000 to other associates.

There will also be a $60m contribution to a new legacy fund, an amount set aside to invest in growth, various investments across the game and the balance of funds after costs will form an injection into NZR reserves to safeguard the game against any future financial disruptions.

Chris Cogdale
Chris Cogdale
Chris “Coggie” Cogdale has extensive knowledge of sport in Wairarapa having covered it for more than 30 years, including radio for 28 years. He has been the sports guru at the Wairarapa Times-Age since 2019.

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