World Rugby’s vice-chairman Agustin Pichot has given an honest assessment of the state of the game, and says the international level is in danger if action isn’t taken.
Pichot wants a 10-year blueprint presented before next year’s World Cup in Japan, kicking off with a meeting in Sydney later this month.
“If you ask me as a businessman, the business side of it is not working,” Pichot told The Guardian.
“If you ask me as the playing side, it’s not working. Is the international game under threat? I think it is. Look at the balance sheets of some nations and you can see exactly where we stand.
“By the 2019 World Cup we need to have a blueprint for the next 10 years. On a scale of one to 10, I think we’re four out of 10 now [in terms of finding a solution] but before we were not even on the chart. We need to push that needle from four to at least six or seven. I’m not going to be an accomplice to rugby’s ruin.”
The former Argentina captain fears that it’s the players who will suffer most.
“My view is that players cannot carry on playing as they are now. You cannot have them playing 30-odd competitive club and international games just because you want bums on seats,” Pichot told The Guardian.
“I have been a professional player so I understand how it goes but you have to take care of the athlete. The first principle is the players’ welfare because they inspire everyone, both us now and the next generation. That is important for the growth of the game.”
Pichot said he wanted “a safe business model and for the international game to be respected”.
“The growth of the game is very big for me; I like to see emerging countries develop. If rugby wants to be big and a sound business, we cannot behave like an old-school organisation.”
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