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A presentation that explores how the traditional values of rugby union have changed as well as discussing some political issues that the code has faced.

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  • My presentation is titled the growth and development of rugby union, once an amateur sport
  • I will briefly run through the outline of my presentation, I will provide an introduction to the topic and tell you why I chose it, I will then give a brief history of the growth of rugby union, then provide you with some information of the politics behind the code, then look at how it is a business. I will then discuss how these tools are used for development and finish with a conclusion.
  • The growth of rugby union has been rapid, it turned professional in 1995 which allowed players to be payed any amount of money attracting talented players and large corporations to the code. It is interesting to see how the game has changed from being a game only allowed to be played by the upper-middle class gentleman, to now a sport played by all. This presentation will look at the shift in values the code holds, the political battles that have occurred in the sport and how the sport is treated like a business.
  • I chose this picture because it shows just how long the sport has been around. Rugby Union was introduced in England as an amateur sport during the 1870s and was traditionally played by the upper middle class. The values were focused on gentlemanliness, leisure, loyalty and decency (Allison, 1998) . The main goal of rugby union was to create a competitive environment and remain exclusive to private schools (Skinner, Stewart & Edwards, 2003) . It was believed that if money were to be brought into the equation, paying its players, administrative staff and officials the amateur ethos and their values would be destroyed. During this period the code was thrown into political turmoil in the United Kingdom as the struggle for power between national and international organisations began (Thomas, 1997) . The transition from rugby union being based around its traditional values to it becoming a product should not be viewed as a negative shift as there are a number of benefits to not only the code but to the wider community. These benefits along with the shift in values will be discussed further in this article. The first sign of conflict between the ‘traditionalists’ (those who wanted to keep rugby’s amateur status) and the expansionists (those who wanted it to become professional) was in 1893 at the RFU general meeting. The pubic school elite opposed any form of professionalisation of the sport making this rule part of the constitution (Thomas, 1997) . However, the signing of the Ferrier letter in 1995 resulted in the establishment of the Australian union and rival leagues such as World Rugby Corporation from being formed (Dabscheck,1998) . This agreement secured players services for a 95 per cent share of the revenue created from broadcasting rights.
  • Conflict Within the Code [ edit ] In 1995 the IRB announced that there was no longer any prohibition placed on the wages for players, staff or officials. This picture demonstrates the need for money to be involved in the code, once other codes have it. It was important for the code to attract talented young players and to keep talented players in the sport, obviously moving away from the traditional values. It is believed this change to have caught the four ‘home unions’ of the British Isles off guard and threw clubs into disarray. This prompted the Rugby Football Union in England to give their clubs a year to adapt to the new changes.
  • This picture shows a struggle for power, which was evident in the UK as the leading clubs felt they had lost control of the sports competitive structure, sponsorship deals and the distribution of funding to the RFU (Thomas, 1997) . There was also debate over player ownership and contractual issues that threatened a ‘club-country’ split. The RFU felt it was important to create peace between the local clubs and the international body as they wanted to appear consolidated to attract sponsorship deals and audiences.   However, post 1996, rugby union is considered a major threat to other rival codes due to its ‘purchasing power’ and ‘national and international networks’ (RFL, 1996). The consolidation of the code has resulted in divided nations being brought together. (Tuck, 2003) believes that this is evident across all nations but one particular example is especially evident in Ireland, where rugby union has created a ‘national identity’. It is thought that rugby union transcends all dividing factors in Ireland such as, politics, religion and social class division. Nevertheless, this belief is not what rugby union was founded on and segregation of class was one of the traditional values. The 2011 RWC was tainted by unfair treatment of minnow nations by the International Rugby Board IRB the English team admitted to cheating by switching balls during games, were not fined, it was dealt with internally and those guilty were expelled from the tournament. However minnow nations were fined for using mouth guards produced by a company that were not official sponsors of the tournament. This simply shows the RWC is a money grabbing force with little respect for traditional values that focus towards fair play and professionalism.
  • This picture shows a crowd that has turned up to watch a regular season game, giving an indication to the rapid growth of sport tourism for rugby events which is a direct result of the sport becoming professional. Ritchie & Adair (2004) suggests that domestic rugby competitions, such as the Super 15 Rugby is a small-scale event compared to ‘mega’ events such as the rugby world cup. It is believed that small-scale events attract the same benefits as the larger events however, do not attract the same negative effects. Ritchie & Adair (2004) believe that political drive is a negative impact of large-scale events resulting in a poor quality of life for the host community.
  • This image is of the opening ceremony at the 2011 RWC and in the middle pictures the microsoft logo, which was the major sponsor of the event, giving an indication just how much money and how important sponsorship is at these types of events. The financial and economic impact of the RWC 2011 was estimated to be substantial and according to a fact sheet published by the IRB the tournament was expected to generate over half a billion dollars for the New Zealand economy. In a separate report published by the IRB it was stated that since the 1995 RWC the events revenue surplus has increased every tournament since it began (£17.6m, £47m, £64.3m and £122.4m respectively). The surplus generated by the RWC is utilized in some of the following ways: All Blacks captain Richie McCaw lifts the 2011 RWC trophy. Image by Alex Spink   Payment of development grants to member unions and regional associations Assist with the delivery of global educational programs such as rugby ready Payment of rugby officials Code promotion through the use of media (television, internet, electronic publications) 
 The RWC not only benefits the host country and the IRB financially, but it also provides job opportunities to the wider community, allowing individuals to become financially stable.
  • However, a major draw back of such an event is that minnow nations are not financially able to compete in the bidding process making the opportunity for them to host the event impossible. Jennings (1996) links the bidding process with political corruption suggesting that committees are often required to serve personal interests of board members. Moreover, minnow nations do not have the infrastructure to host such a large scale event. A number of host nations have had to remodel their city to be able to cope with the demands of a RWC (Jones, 2001) , which minnow nations would not be able to afford. The simple fact that the IRB take all the money from television rights, sponsorship deals and advertising rights during the RWC leaves host nations in debt and the only income from the event come from ticket sales. This places a restriction on countries that are able to compete for the hosting rights, and only financially and politically powerful countries are able to host such an event. This restricts the growth and development of minnow nations, such as Samoa, both in terms of rugby and as a country. This greed from the IRB has resulted in the NZRU threatening to withdraw from the 2015 RWC unless a more financially viable option is put in place (Lord, 2011)
  • In conclusion The IRB may be accused of being an organisation driven by greed, however the development of rugby requires funding and the funding come from the governing board. For a sport to grow it is important to attract young athletes and produce an attitude of life-long participation in sport. The IRB are guilty of moving the game away from traditional values, however it has resulted in a global expansion of the code and increased participation at all levels. The money made by the IRB filters down to a local level assisting with development. The continual expansion of the game would not be possible if continuous money is not put back into the code. Rugby union will get left behind by competing codes if the code is not treated like a business. The clubs at local, national and international level still have their values and beliefs, they are just new-age values. It is important to understand that at all levels of the game, the new age clubs have a number of different aspects. All clubs (even if amateur) typically need some sort of sponsorship, and in current society money is required to be able to get a club up and running. This may be a move away from the traditional values that rugby was built upon, however everything evolves and this is the way sport is heading, if you have a passion for rugby union, you will love it no matter what
  • Bps mitchell a_king1

    1. 1. <ul><li>The Growth and Development of Rugby Union, Once an Amateur Sport. </li></ul>Mitchell King (3018010) Created by:
    2. 2. Overview <ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><li>History of Rugby Union </li></ul><ul><li>Growth of Rugby Union </li></ul><ul><li>Political Influence </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Conflict within the code </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Rugby Union as a Business </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sport Tourism </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The Rugby World Cup </li></ul></ul><ul><li>For Development and Expansion </li></ul><ul><li>Conclusion </li></ul>
    3. 3. Rugby: Growth has been rapid http://www.flickr.com/photos/xiaming/2235841649/
    4. 4. Rugby: Traditionally for the private school elite and upper-middle class http://www.flickr.com/photos/xiaming/2235841649/
    5. 5. Money, that’ s what they want! http://www.flickr.com/photos/dborman2/3258378233/
    6. 6. Tug of War: The struggle for power and dominance <ul><li>http://www.flickr.com/photos/bobcatnorth/3029026016/ </li></ul>
    7. 7. Sport Tourism: A crowd at a regular season game in the UK <ul><li>http://www.flickr.com/photos/billmcintyre/1091467042/ </li></ul>
    8. 8. Tug of War: The struggle for power and dominance <ul><li>http://www.flickr.com/photos/thamespath/1346225321/ </li></ul>
    9. 9. Infrastructure: Minnow nations do not have the money to hold a RWC <ul><li>http://www.flickr.com/photos/downunderphotos/5119728353/ </li></ul>
    10. 10. Growth of the game <ul><li>http://www.flickr.com/photos/johnkay/3415226834/ </li></ul>