Opinion of Rugbygirl:
Over the last month the NZRU has secured a reported $80,000,000 sponsorship deal from AIG and announced a record fee from England Rugby Union for All Blacks and Black Ferns to play tests against England at Twickenham on 1st December but even with this massive injection of funding, the top New Zealand Women’s rugby players are not being treated as they deserve.
Over the past 6 months there has been glaring examples of the women’s game being treated poorly,namely;
1.Otago NPC team being left out of the NPC Competition over $18,000 .This money was raised by All Black Adam Thompson and ex Black Ferns and got the team re instated at the last minute .With the NZRU’s Strategic Plan to have fourteen Women’s NPC Teams this should not have been sorted out by individuals and the results the Otago team achieved in the competition showed if they had not played in it, women’s rugby would have been a big loser as six Black Ferns have been selected from that team including Kelly Brazier who has become the highest point scorer ever in NPC rugby.
2.The 2013 Provincial Women’s Sevens Championship in Queenstown, being restricted to 6 teams after Pub Charity Funding of the event (covering Men’s and Women’s teams ) was significantly down on what was applied for. The Men’s competition was kept at 14 teams and the Women’s competition was reduced from 14 teams to 6.
3.The Black Ferns are playing 3 tests against England in the next month but are only getting a small daily allowance to do so. We have heard the England Rugby Union is meeting the costs of this tour so the four times Rugby World Champion team’s players deserve to be rewarded in a similar way as the English players
4. The IRB Women’s Sevens Series starts in Dubai on November 30 and the majority of the England,USA,Australia,Netherland and Canada players (who will be the main opposition for New Zealand) make a living from rugby whilst all the New Zealand players are still amateurs and not even getting a daily allowance. What makes it more insulting is the New Zealand Men’s team will all be paid at least $5,000 and in some cases more to play in the same tournament.
This is not only wrong it is a breach of the “ Brighton Declaration on Woman and Sport “ which now Sevens is an Olympic Sport the sport must adhere to. The underlying principle of this declaration is women must be treated the same as men in every way. .In the USA the Women’s players filed a Gender Equality case against the USA Rugby Union and unless this inequality issue is sorted in New Zealand the NZRU could be facing something similar here.
5.Girls’ have been included in the New Zealand Secondary Schools Condor Sevens which is being played in Auckland on 2 December but until Rugbygirl Foundation stepped in and contributed $51,750 towards the event (through obtaining Gaming Trust Funding ) the boys teams were going to have their travel and accommodation costs paid whilst the girls teams were going to have to meet all theirs. Now 16 girls teams from throughout New Zealandwill have all their travel and accommodation costs met by Rugbygirl Foundation.
With the Black Ferns and New Zealand Women’s Sevens playing jerseys being logoed with AIG for the next 5 years ,the women players should be allocated a significant proportion of the $80,000,000 the NZRU will benefit from this sponsorship .The Chief Executive of AIG in New Zealand ,Chris Knell said in the New Zealand Herald last Sunday “age group and women’s rugby could be the top beneficiaries “ of this sponsorship”’
There are no signs at present this will be the case and until Women’s rugby has a CEO in the NZRU and the women have a Players’ Association, we believe they will never be treated equally as the men .It took Billy Jean King ,a top women’s tennis player to lead the charge in professional tennis to ensure women got the same reward as men and it will need a top ex Black Fern to champion the cause in New Zealand to achieve the same in rugby.
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