Martin Devlin: Who pays for the future of Women's Rugby?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 14 May 2020, 12:22PM

Martin Devlin: Who pays for the future of Women's Rugby?

Author
Newstalk ZB,
Publish Date
Thu, 14 May 2020, 12:22PM

Alice Soper has opened a real can of worms here.

The Wellington women's rugby player making much mainstream media noise after a twitter post bemoaning the "lack of clarity around the resumption of women's rugby".

Nothing better than a good old-fashioned sexist argument to rile the scribes. The implications from Alice are that both NZR and "the media" are at fault for leaving players like herself "in the dark" over their futures. The simplistic response is called money.

Find some. Stop yelling at everyone else to find it for you and go find some. Because that is what this is entirely and absolutely about, i.e. who is going to pay for whatever future rugby has in this country.

The tone of Soper's piece leans dangerously towards the default setting of most of this generation, that being entitlement.

I am, I want, I'm owed and YOU have to pay for it. Because if you don't then it's only the result of some pre-planned male-driven evilly-intended desire to deliberately ignore and subjugate the women's game for no other reason than it is played by the species defined as female.

Of course this is utterly ridiculous but, heh, it makes for great clickbait doesn't it? Now before I become the self-made devil incarnate of this issue, let me reiterate that I do in fact both understand and appreciate the nub of her  argument.

I'm just not so sure (after watching her piece) that Alice fully understands or appreciates where the game and in particular its finances are placed right now.

Half the staff at NZR are losing their jobs, everyone has taken paycuts and how the next 12 months pans out in terms of matches, competitions, international travel and income generation is anyone's guess.

She says "you guys will hype our s**t and clip the ticket when  we succeed, the challenge for the sports media is to ask the question for once".

Well since you're telling me how to my job, please allow me to kindly return the favour. If you've been listening to or reading any of the coverage we are generating c/o NTZB then you'd be more than aware we have been doing just that.

The world as we knew it is no longer what it was. In my workplace we have lost 80% of our sports department. And we have to cope.

As ugly as it is, as depressing as it's been, as bleak an immediate future as it looks, we have no choice but to keep  going and do our utmost to create new opportunities and revenue generators as best we can.

No-one OWES anyone anything right now. Yes Alice you have a right to want to play but also, accept the fact that, no-one owes you a living. How is rugby going  to pay for itself? And more importantly how does your personal piece of the sport do likewise?

I don't have the answers, do you?  No you don't. And that's because no-one does.

I understand the angst, all of us in every profession are feeling that. But what is needed is solutions. Money-making solutions. All sport is struggling and will continue to do so. Yes your competitions and future deserve to be supported. And yes they need to be funded. But the truth is NO-ONE "clips your ticket" because there isn't one.

Women's rugby does not pay for itself, never has and for the foreseeable future never will. I agree with you Alice and I ask again, who is going to foot the bill?