Rugby: New Zealand players reveal their alternative to selling part of the All Blacks team

The New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA) on Friday unveiled a funding proposal aimed at keeping the All Blacks in New Zealand hands, angering New Zealand rugby executives seeking a deal with US investors.

The union, which includes players from elite New Zealand rugby union, said their proposal offered cash-strapped New Zealand Rugby Union (NZR) a viable alternative to selling part of its stake in its All Blacks brand to the California-based private equity firm. . Silver Lake Partners.

The latter plans to pay $280 million to acquire 12.5% ​​of the commercial rights held by NZR, and the right to negotiate worldwide promotion and broadcast contracts.

The plan presented by the players is to sell 5% of All Blacks’ rights to a capital increase that will attract New Zealand financial institutions and “friendly” investors.

“NZR will retain much greater control over its future, greater flexibility and more options, and will share its future results with New Zealanders who wish to invest in the business,” the NZRPA said in a letter to the NZR.

The Players Association has a veto against the Silver Lake proposal, despite the collective support the NZR expressed at its annual general meeting last month.

In response to a question, NZR has not yet commented on the content of these players’ plan, but its general manager Mark Robinson, quoted by several local media outlets, has already said he is “shocked and disappointed”. That this proposal has been presented to the media by the NZR.

According to him, it also contains confidential information that the Players Association does not have the right to make public.

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Former All Blacks captain David Kirk holds a lunch with players of the current squad in Auckland, October 11, 2011 (POOL / AFP / Archives – PHIL WALTER)

“This is a fundamental breach of trust and of the partnership we cherish so far,” he said, accusing players of trying to sabotage the deal with Silver Lake.

All allegations have been officially dismissed by Players Association president and former All Blacks captain David Kirk. He replied, “We are facing a situation where New Zealand rugby could change forever. The idea that we would not be willing to discuss and debate the different options is simply absurd.”

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