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Thursday Jan 14, 2021

Brian Moore on money in modern rugby and how it should never be compared to 'outlier' football

How much players get paid has been a talking point for many years now, since professionalism kicked into another gear at the start of the 2010s. But are salaries too high, or are they in line with what the modern day player is being demanded of?

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Jim Hamilton sat down with former England hooker and BBC co-commentator Brian Moore to discuss the finer details of money in the sport, which have understandably taken a significant hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moore was one of the key figures calling for the game to go professional in the mid 90s, a move which he felt was necessary at the time.

Professionalism has, since then, taken as many steps forward as it has backwards.

“People won’t know this or probably care, but I can genuinely claim to be one of the people who pushed hardest in England for the game to turn pro,” Moore said.

“I knew I wasn’t going to benefit, I had one year in the pro era with Richmond, but it wasn’t for me.

“If it had stayed as, the only people who make money are the RFU and it goes to grassroots, absolutely fine. But that wasn’t what was happening.”

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Finances clearly have taken a big impact amid the pandemic, and Moore is keen for clubs and unions to make it clear to players that in order to secure the future of the sport, compromises need to be made.

Moore did stop short of calling for player salaries to be reduced as a result, but demands that the RFU in particular needs to try and find some middle ground when it comes to saveguarding the money within the game.

“You need to have a balanced game,” Moore explains. “And during COVID, it has become stark, and when we come out of this, it should be the catalyst [to say]: ‘right, whatever is left, has to be sustainable, because we can’t carry on like this.’

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“Players will try and earn as much as they can, and the agents will do. And that’s their job. It’s up to the RFU, for Premiership Rugby to find ways to sit down with players and say ‘look, these are the figures.’

“About six/seven years ago, the number of players on over £400,000, it was just into the teens. Now, hundreds.

“Rugby is still a very young game and what it can’t do is model itself on football, because football is awash with cash. Rugby is nowhere near that; for example, the whole of the Premiership’s turnover is the same as Everton Football Club…one club.”

You can watch the full chat below

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