Saru tackles Springbok season with R57,6m boost

Springbok Head Coach Heyneke Meyer during the Springboks training session and media briefing from Afrikaanse Hoer Seunskool in April. (Lee Warren, Gallo Images)

Springbok Head Coach Heyneke Meyer during the Springboks training session and media briefing from Afrikaanse Hoer Seunskool in April. (Lee Warren, Gallo Images)

The South African Rugby Union (Saru) announced on Saturday it had reached agreement on a ground-breaking new remuneration arrangement for 2012, which will see the Union’s financial commitment to Springbok player costs increase to R57,6-million.

The deal was signed with the South African Rugby Players’ Association (Sarpa) and Sarpacom Pty Ltd - the players’ rights management company - after several weeks of negotiation and will be applied retrospectively from January 1 2012.

Jurie Roux, the CEO of SARU, explained that the new model contained three key elements:

Springbok coach Heyneke Meyer will be able to sign as many as 30 players on Springbok retainer contracts. In previous years only 10 to 20 Springboks had been contracted.

SARU will pay the National Players Trust a market related intellectual property rights fee each year (of which a portion will be directed to the Springbok Sevens Players’ Trust) for collective appearances and the right to use collective attributes of the players in the activations of sponsor partners.

In the previous two years, SARU paid the Players Trust on a per-appearance basis for the use of players’ attributes and appearances.

An amount has been allocated to recompense provincial unions for the loss of players to the Springbok squad.

Unique images
“The players are rugby’s most important assets and we have struck a ground-breaking deal that has increased the pool for Springbok player costs in line with our budget for 2012,” said Jurie, CEO of SARU.

“We will now be contracting as many as 30 Springboks each season and we have also reached agreement with the National and Sevens Players Trusts to purchase the collective players’ attributes and appearances.
Sarpacom will manage that process and each player will receive a share of the intellectual property rights fee at the end of year.”

Roux said that the Trust arrangement was unique in world rugby and offered significant advantages to players and SARU.

“The Players Trusts exclusively represent the collective players’ image rights and allow us to guarantee exclusive use of those image rights to our sponsors and commercial partners,” he said.

“There is also an opportunity for the Players Trust and SARU to share in other joint commercial ventures. This is an exciting partnership.”

Protected on all sides
Piet Heymans, CEO of Sarpa, said the Springbok remuneration agreement also addressed matters such as injury benefits and the remuneration of non-contracted players.

“We had to ensure that injured players will be looked after and if non-contracted players be selected that they will also be remunerated fairly”, said Heymans.

Roux said that the players would be contracted at the conclusion of the England series. In addition, funds have been set aside for payments to provinces as and when their players are called up for Springbok duty. The principle is to assist provinces in remunerating their players when they are on national duty.

“We were always confident that the matter would be resolved before the Test season got underway,” said Roux.

“Saru will spend R57,6m in total on these agreements and the compensation to the provinces in 2012. This is an expensive deal for Saru but it is a good deal in that all the parties will be remunerated fairly to ensure success on and off the field for the Springboks in 2012.”

“The players and Saru had to make compromises to reach this agreement but the most important thing is that the players can now concentrate fully on the forthcoming Test series against England.”—Sapa.

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