Tier 2 nations are reaching breaking point after it was revealed they will receive just 2% of the funding of their Tier 1 counterparts for their World Cup participation.
Whilst sides like Fiji and Samoa will be paid around £150,000 for their participation in the 2015 tournament, Tier 1 sides will receive £7.5m each out of a total pool of around £150m profit from the tournament as a whole.
To put this into context, each member of the All Blacks squad stands to earn around £65,000 should their side lift the Webb Ellis trophy at the end of the tournament. This news comes just a year after Samoa threatened a walkout of their game against England because of payment issues.
Funding issues have been well documented for the Pacific Island sides, with many requiring their players to cover their own transport costs at various times simply to play for their national side. It is therefore no wonder that many of their top young stars opt to play for Tier 1 nations.
It is inconceivable that we are now in a situation where three players stand to earn more from the tournament than an entire national union. This is a totally unacceptable state of affairs and is clearly going to be to the detriment of emerging nations.
The other knock on effect is that players for Tier 2 nations are pressured into making themselves unavailable for international tournaments by their clubs. This is only possible as the national unions aren’t able to pay their players due to the lack of funding, therefore meaning they have to choose between earning a living or playing for their national side.
If World Rugby are really serious about growing the game around the world then they need to get this issue resolved before the 2019 World Cup. And frankly, the tier 1 nations should be ashamed of themselves for allowing such a situation to stand.