Via Women’s Rugby Review (I just love the rugbyfied Mona Lisa!), eRugbyNews (aka Goff) is reporting that the Women’s National Team’s upcoming UK tour may cost more ($1500) out of pocker per player than originally thought.

Costs Undermine Women Eagles Tour
(Subscription required)

The USA women’s national team tour of the UK has hit a snag as players will be expected to foot a larger portion of the cost than initially expected.

“We had hoped for greater coverage of the player costs but the reality didn’t quite meet our expectations,” said USA coach Kathy Flores. “So we are busy trying to make the tour work for the players by raising funds on their behalf.”

The Eagles are set to play the Nomads, a women’s version of the famed Barbarians all-star team featuring international players from all over the World, England A, and England on the three-match tour. The total cost is estimated at around $80,000 (the poor exchange rate of the dollar to pounds doesn’t help). The most recent estimates show that players will be required to pay $1,500 each for the trip.

Women’s national team director Anne Barry said that number will be reduced. Barry and WNT assistant coach Alex Williams are already hard at work fundraising to mitigate costs, and USA Rugby CEO Nigel Melville is looking for larger sources of money as well.

Rather disheartening to hear, huh?

We’ve talked about it before here, and there’s obviously no easy solution, but it costs a lot of money and a lot of blood, sweat and tears to play high-level women’s rugby in this country.

So, first and foremost, if you would like to donate, go here and specify Women’s National Team.

The official roster for this tour has not been released yet. Most likely, because invitations were issued to a large pool of players and the coaches need to see who is available and can afford the trip.

Some lurkers on the comments (Clarification: Comments at eRugbyNews, not SARD) for this article are raising an uproar questioning if the UK tour team list will be all “Berkeley or New York” players. Which is pretty stupid and insulting to all of the players, Berkeley, New York and all over the country who are in the player pool, want to be an Eagle and may or may not be able to afford this tour without additional help.

I’d like to note that I call the Goff commenters “lurkers” because as a subscription site, I don’t think these opinions adequately represent all of us out here playing and coaching. I have a subscription, I read the comments and it’s always seems like the same people over and over again. And typically it’s negative. Which is just one more reason why I keep this free blog going. Everyone gets a free voice. And we at least try to be positive and respectful.

Seriously, I have this building disappointment in the need for people to “talk” about supporting women’s rugby, yet our actual words and actions are tearing players and teams down. It’s really pissing me off. You either support women’s rugby or you don’t. At the end of game, when the whistle blows, everybody wants the same things for themselves and their clubs.

The only comment worth reading was by a current WNT player, who said this:

As a WNT player, I would like to offer a little perspective on this. Last year at the women’s world cup, we went 4-1. I will concede that the event lost money. To some extent the IRB has themselves to blame for selecting a host that was not ready to take it on. Edmonton is just not as big of a rugby mecca as England (which put in the other bid for the WC) and could have potentially made money on the event.

During WC we did not have to pay for the event, but we did have to take a month off from work unpaid. In contrast, the men’s team are paid a stipend and did not win a game at world cup. I will concede that men’s and women’s teams are not the same by virtue of the international visibility of men’s rugby. But that should not impact the level of support that USA rugby provides for it’s national teams. There should be no reason that we are expected to pay $1500, when the men’s team gets paid to play. There seems to be some budgetary discrepancy when at the end of the year there is no money for one of the national teams to go on tour, when they have not had any other significant spending the entire rest of the year. Does USA rugby not have an explicit budget for the women’s program?

I would say that the reason a finalized list has not been announced seems to be a function of this financial situation. There are many players who CANNOT afford to pay $1500 on top of taking time off from work. We need to find out what level of support USA rugby can provide before we can fully commit to the tour. Once we know how much we will be expected to pay we can determine who can still feasibly participate in the event.

Again, just disheartening … and that’s a morale-killer for sure …

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Filed under 2007 UK Tour, Good Cause, United Kingdom, USA Eagles

3 responses to “Funding

  1. Anonymous

    don’t think it is fair for the 1st commenter on erugbynews to dump on nyrcw or berk about funds… anyone who pays rent in nyc or the sf area, by far the two most expensive in the usa, is hardly getting rich on playing women’s rugby…

  2. KLK

    they posted the roster like the next day…ps I sound like a valley girl

  3. bhw

    Having a donation page on the USA Rugby website is ultimately a short-term solution to what has been and will be a long term problem of financing a less popular WNT. It’s “preaching to the choir” so to speak, in the sense that it is asking for support from people who already know and love rugby. If the WNT (and, the sport of rugby within the US in general) wants to be taken seriously they need to garner endorsements and financial backing from advertisers so that their events can eventually turn a profit. Granted, it’s difficult to get big-name sponsors with a small audience, but like a previous commenter stated, women’s rugby is such a unique and compelling sport that it wouldn’t be difficult to sell with the right pitch (no pun intended) and to the right markets. As long as the WNT settles for being what essentially amounts as an “opening act” for the men’s team in big venues, and relies on last ditch donations to scrap together tours, they are going to be stuck in this position forever.

    I find it fascinating that the men’s team gets paid a stipend simply by virtue of being part of a more financially successful (male) venue (a situation I would like to point out is in some ways perpetuated by IRB in assuming that women’s rugby is doomed to be a small venue that makes at best a little money… which is a bunch of baloney, just look at the usa women’s soccer team for example!). I’m not in any way blaming the men, because they aren’t exactly in it for the money either… but I think it’s unforgivable that a winning team is just being left out in the cold by USA Rugby.

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