20 Dec

New Domestic Competition for 2011
by Tracey Nelson
20 Dec 2009

Air-NZ-Cup-Logo3A new domestic competition structure and player contract agreement has been announced for the 2011 season.

The New Zealand Rugby Union (NZRU) and the New Zealand Rugby Players Association (NZRPA) have agreed settlement terms for a new Collective Employment Agreement for 2010 to 2012, and decided upon the structure of the domestic competition.

The competition will remain at 14 teams for 2010, with a full round robin followed by semi-finals and a final exactly as the 2009 competition was played. But in 2011 the 14 teams will split into two divisions of seven teams, based on their fiinishing positions in the 2010 competition. The top seven sides from 2010 will form the 2011 Premiership, and the bottom seven will form the Championship.

Within the Premiership and Championship, each team will play the other teams in their division plus four teams from the other division (a total of 10 games). The process on how teams will select their cross-division opponents will be finalised early next year. All ten matches will carry full competition points. There will also be automatic promotion/relegation, with th winner of the Championship receiving automatice promotion to the Premiership while the seventh placed side in the Premiership will drop down to the Championship for the following season.

So this will create a lot of interest in the 2010 ANZC season, with all games having a huge bearing on deciding the split of teams into the two divisions for 2011. However, the first season of the Premiership and Championship format will be restricted to an eight week window due to the hosting of the Rugby World Cup. This will result in three mid-week matches over the eight weeks of the compeition, and there will be no semi-finals that year. From 2012 the competition will commence mid August and be played over 12 weeks.

Player contracting and the salary cap will also change. The Provincial Union Salary Cap will no longer include notional values, but discounts for All Blacks, veteran players and injuries will continue. The level of the new Salary Cap will be set at the lesser of:

  • $1.35m; or
  • 36% of a Province’s commercial revenue based on prior years.

This is a reduction on the current cap of $2.2 million (which included notional values).

The revenue sharing model introduced in 2005 will continue, with the Player Payment Pool to be used for Player payments and initiatives agreed at 36 per cent of the Player Generated Revenue (this inludes all NZRU broadcasting revenue, sponsorship and match-day revenue). Franchise Revenue above a total revenue level across the five New Zealand Franchises of $24 million per annum will also added to the PPP from 2011.

The maximum amount provinces will be able to play an individual player will be capped at $60K, with the exception of two marquee players who will be capped at $90K. Any exisiting provincial union contracts in excess of $60K will be added to that player’s NZRU contract and become payable out of the Player Payment Pool.

Franchises will be allocated a budget from within the Player Payment Pool with a maximum amount that a Franchise will be able to pay a player to be agreed. The existing Wider Training Group of a further eight players per Franchise will remain.

The settlement terms will now be drafted into a full Collective Agreement which will be presented to the respective stakeholders for final ratification. Further details of the agreement will be announced once those processes are concluded.

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