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NZ Rugby and Players Association to finally meet

The Rugby Players Association will finally get the chance to present its proposal for a public share float to New Zealand Rugby at a meeting in Wellington tomorrow.

Earlier this month the Players Association and investment company Forsyth Barr made public an alternative to the proposed $387 million deal NZR is pursuing with US private equity firm Silver Lake.

The NZR wants to sell a 12.5 percent stake in its commercial rights to provide a cash injection to the game here.

But the Forsyth Barr proposal values NZR’s commercial assets at up to 23 percent higher and claims its plan to sell a 5 percent stake could raise up to $190 million and carries less risk.

NZR maintains it has already considered a share float but does not believe it stacks up as well at the Silver Lake deal although it did acquiesce last week and agree to meet to discuss the the Forysth Barr plans.

The Players Association on the other hand are unconvinced NZR has looked at all the options fully and wants greater transparency.

RNZ understands Forsyth Barr’s managing director Neil Paviour-Smith and Players Association head Rob Nichol will attend the meeting with NZR management in Wellington tomorrow.

NZ Rugby Players Association head Rob Nichol.
Photo: RNZ / Rebekah Parsons-King

However outgoing NZR chair Brent Impey who has been at loggerheads with the Players Association and has said if the players don’t sign off on the Silver Lake deal it would the biggest own goal in the history of New Zealand Sport – won’t be present.

Tomorrow’s meeting won’t end the standoff but it does indicate a thawing in relations between the two parties since collective bargaining talks broke down last month.

A third option was thrown into the mix this week with former NZR chief executive David Moffett suggesting a co-operative model should be looked at.

A co-operative would stop any overseas ownership and European football clubs such as Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona and NFL side the Green Bay Packers are all co-operatives.


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