$13m rugby: Fijian Drua budget in Super Rugby event

Fijian Drua players. Picture: RUGBY 365

The Fiji Rugby Union has drawn up a budget of about $13million to participate in the Super Rugby Pacific tournament from next February.

While the Fijian Drua’s inclusion in the annual competition was welcomed with open arms, Rugby House said the proposed budget was enough to pitch the team against the big boys of Super Rugby.

Fijian Drua interim chief executive officer Brian Thorburn reveled this last week.

“We have been able to find ways of covering those costs,” Thorburn said.

“We have multiple revenue streams from government, Rugby Australia, Rugby New Zealand and World Rugby.”

The team will be based in Australia next year because of COVID-19 restrictions. This would add an additional $F2m, said Thorburn.

“We have committed sponsorships. We also have gate revenues in Australia that we will receive some rights for taking games in particular regions or states.

“We have significant financial covenants with NZ Rugby to make sure that this franchise is sustainable and not just for the first year.

“We are in the process of meeting those financial covenants, so we are comfortable with what we have landed. At this point we have enough money to make everything work over the next 24 months.”

FRU chairman Conway Beg said the decision was to ensure that the Fijian Drua’s first season in Super Rugby was as disruption-free as possible to achieve the first season objectives.

“We need to give our team every opportunity for success. The uncertainty around restriction-free travel between Fiji, Australia and New Zealand as early as February 2022 because of COVID-19 was just too great a risk. The Fijian Drua will be based in Australia for the 2022 season, playing their home and away matches in Australia and New Zealand,” Beg said.

The Fijian Drua is yet to announce its establishment as an entity.

“We have signed our unconditional licence for the Fijian Drua, and in due course, we will confirm the establishment of the Fijian Drua as a separate legal and commercial entity. The club will have its own board of directors, management, and staff. Most excitingly, the signing up of a squad of Fijian players.”

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