Rugby Nova Scotia President
Most of you have seen or will see the Rugby Canada Press Release regarding the dues increase. There is little background provided and in my mind raises more questions than it answers. I have looked through the comments online and the questions and concerns raised fall into a couple of different categories. I will try and give you some answers from the Provincial perspective.
The majority of Rugby Canada funding comes from World Rugby, not membership dues, sponsorship or commercial events. Government funding makes up another large portion of the revenue stream and that money is dedicated to and must be spent on specific programs (7’s). By not qualifying as Americas 1 or 2 RC misses out on approximately 500 k of World Cup Prep funding. There are also other one time expenses that Rugby Canada will face in 2018 such as funding the Common Wealth Games team. I believe the women are covered but the mens portion is to be born by Rugby Canada.
Let Them Not Qualify
This is in several posts. If Canada doesn’t qualify for the World Cup we do not share in the revenue and our funding from World Rugby will be reduced dramatically. Millions over the next four years will be lost. The result of this lack of funding will hit every level of Rugby in Canada. It would mean catastrophic change.
Rugby Canada Acted Alone to Raise Dues
This is not true. Rugby Canada approached the provinces in February and indicated they would be adding a surcharge to all registration at all levels across the country. The provinces said no,not acceptable. Many of the suggestions you see online were raised by the provinces. Fundraising, sponsorship, cutting the budget starting at the top, etc. Rugby Canada is currently fundraising and will most likely add another type of fundraising program. The problem is they historically have done poorly in this area and consistently failed to hit targets. Sponsorship is hard to come by in the current economic climate and for a team performing as the men have, increasing difficult. Budget cuts. They have made some cuts and reorganisations and have not filled a number of vacant positions. It’s an area where I think there is still room for savings and we will encourage them to keep looking at ways to make the structure leaner.
Based on the financial picture presented, the provinces all agreed to hold a Special General Meeting last Friday evening. The proposal to raise dues was presented. Having looked at the options and seen the need for the funds, to give the team the best opportunity to qualify and try to prevent millions of future losses, I agreed to the increase on behalf of Rugby Nova Scotia. BC voted No, as the wording did not insure that this would be a one time increase.NB did not attend the call, nor NF, but NF indicated they would be abstaining.All other provinces voted yes.There are some caveats to the agreement. Rugby Canada and the provinces will review the need for the increase after the qualifying process has finished with the aim of reducing or eliminating it completely. Also it was decide that U12 registration would face a 5.00 increase only.
What Happens with People who have registered already
Here in Nova Scotia this is not an issue as no clubs have opened for registration yet. In Ontario this will be a bigger concern. Those who have registered already will not be charged retroactively. Only registrations from yesterday going forward will face the increase. Not particularly fair but there is little possibility of collecting from someone who has already paid.
BC will see the increase charged when their season opens for registration in the fall.
What Will Rugby Nova Scotia Do?
As you know our focus for the last few years has been on grass roots and growth. We have seen an increase in our minor and junior registrations in each of the last few years. We have been successful in obtaining grants and sponsorship for our high performance teams. We have partnered with the HRSB to introduce flag rugby in the junior highs this year and this will see us host a giant jamboree this May. Clubs have indicted keeping high school kids involved is a priority and one we agree with. We would hate to see this dues decision have a negative impact on these areas or on our youth programs. *****To mitigate that affect, RNS will reduce the provincial portion of the dues for Junior members by $15.00 for the 2018 season. ****
I know this doesn’t help our senior members but we will work with the clubs on some co-operative measures to try and assist where we can in reducing costs and improving our programs.
Sorry for the long post but I wanted to put out as much information as possible to keep you all informed. Feel free to share or contact me with any questions you might have and I will do my best to answer.