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Cash-strapped Queensland looks to ARU

Cash-strapped Queensland looks to ARU
March 8, 2010

The Queensland Rugby Union (QRU) has confirmed it is seeking financial assistance from the Australian Rugby Union.

QRU Chief Executive Jim Carmichael says the code is facing growing challenges in Queensland and he is working with the ARU to develop short and long-term solutions.

Queensland Chairman Rod McCall and Carmichael held discussions on Thursday with the ARU.

In a subsequent statement, Carmichael said "we have been to see the ARU and have discussed financial and other issues.

"We are seeking ARU assistance and are working through the possibilities. At this stage we are still to reach resolution."

Carmichael says the Reds' financial problems have snowballed over a period of time, advising "the difficult challenges faced by Queensland Rugby have been growing over a number of years ... the ARU and ourselves are working together to develop short, medium and long term solutions."

The ARU had to rescue the New South Wales Rugby Union from financial failure 10 years ago.

The Australian and New Zealand rugby union authorities are aiming to generate more revenues in Asia, particularly Japan, as interest in their home markets has hit a new low.

The two rugby superpowers hope to capitalise on the growth of rugby in Asia which they hope will be spurred by the hosting of the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.

As reported by Bloomberg, New Zealand Foreign Minister Murray McCully commented "we have a decade ahead of us in which we'll see rugby grow in Asia and the hub of that growth will be Japan.

"New Zealand has a proud rugby heritage, Japan has substantial resources and we see it as an area of natural synergy."

Bloomberg reports that ARU Chief Executive John O'Neill has said "looking at the strength of the England and French markets, if we sit on our hands we're going to get run over by the economic power of Europe."

Some of the top players from Australia and New Zealand have been attracted by the bigger salaries on offer at English and French clubs. This has resulted in crowds at domestic matches growing smaller. ARU research shows that the total attendance at international test matches fell 37% to 386,287 this year, and attendances in Australia at matches in the provincial Super 14 competition fell to 75,393 on average per round, compared to 115,317 in 2006.

The QRU's financial problems come in the wake of doubts about the future viability of Queensland Cricket.


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