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Rugby Australia uses charitable foundation to pay elite player salaries
Rugby Australia has defended its use of funds from its national fundraising body, the Australian Rugby Foundation (ARF), to contribute to the salary packages of elite players.
As revealed this week by the Sydney Morning Herald, ARF funds are being used to pay a portion of Wallabies star David Pocock's salary over the term of his current three-year deal.
A similar arrangement previously existed for Israel Folau.
Created by Rugby Australia, the ARF aims to create a self-sustaining 'future fund' for the game in the next couple of years.
In a statement Rugby Australia Chief Executive, Raelene Castle confirmed the practice, advising "some of the grant funding Rugby Australia receives from the ARF is invested in key areas of the High Performance program, and has been used to support our top talent.”
Castle defended the practice as one of "five key pillars" of the ARF's activities, which she described as "community rugby, welfare, women's rugby, indigenous rugby and high performance".
Castle went on to advise "donations received by the ARF are allocated to a pillar, or multiple pillars, as agreed by the donor. The ARF then grants funding to Rugby Australia to invest in those areas of the game.
"The ARF operates within the Australian Sports Foundation framework, which is endorsed by the Australian Tax Office."
Castle added "while an ARF donor may choose whether their funds are used to aid in the retention of a particular player by Rugby Australia, there is no contractual relationship between the donor and the player.
"All player contracts are negotiated at market value between Rugby Australia, the player and his Super Rugby team.
Multi-millionaire investor David Paradice has been identified as the backer paying a portion of Pocock's salary.
Like the Salteri family of Transfield and Tenix fame, who funded Israel Folau until mid-last year, Paradice, worth $519 million last year, is one of a number of private individuals donating to the game through the ARF.
Tony and Josephine Sukkar, the founders of construction company Buildcorp, are also well-known donors to rugby through direct sponsorships, fundraising and donations to the ARF.
Castle concluded "the ARF is an important vehicle for fans and philanthropic donors to support the game in the areas that they have a particular passion."
15th February 2019 - National sports raffle to aid fundraising for grassroots sports and charities
6th February 2019 - Rugby Australia plans for ongoing growth of women’s game
5th February 2019 - Rugby Australia Chief Executive enthusiastic about World League plans
15th January 2019 - Rugby Australia reports rising participation through 2018
17th September 2018 - Rugby Australia to review security after fan incident after Test at Cbus Super Stadium
28th August 2018 - National Rugby Championship expands community connections in fifth season
30th July 2018 - Australian Sports Foundation creates new charitable fund
29th June 2018 - Rugby Australia announces new Chief Commercial Officer appointment
20th May 2018 - Raelene Castle shares plan to revive Australian rugby
19th February 2016 - Sporting legends back ASF goal to exceed $300 million in sport fundraising
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