Professional sport centres on money. Who gets how much.
And this is especially so in an Olympic year.
New Zealand hockey’s generous supporter Sir Owen Glenn has come out firing about Hockey New Zealand because it asked its current Olympic players to plead/beg sponsors for funds to finance the build-up to Rio. $12,000 has been bandied about as individual obligations. There are obvious questions. “What about Sport New Zealand’s high performance system? Doesn’t it allocate funds to sports?” It does. But what it doesn’t indicate is that the goose which lays the golden egg is light on eggs.
Consequently Sport NZ’s budget is reduced by a $4 million dollars through the fall in returns from lottery grants.
The government has come under criticism in spite of its investment of $62 million in High Performance Sport NZ, which in turn made funding decisions based on targeted performance results.
Women’s hockey receives $1.3 million in High Performance funding with individual players receiving between $9000 and $20,000. Men’s hockey will get $700,000 from HPSNZ , a $300,000 drop from its previous level. The fall-off in support for national lotteries, and the absence of large payouts, has dimmed lottery buyers’ spending.
Meanwhile local rugby kicked off last Saturday with no red cards issued, a few yellow cards and no blue cards.
Blue cards? These could become part of local rugby if an innovation from the Northland Rugby Union is adopted nationally.
Head knocks and concussion are increasingly before the public. Northland introduced a system whereby a player who receives a head knock is asked a few questions by a team medic/physio and, if required, the referee then gives him a blue card which means that the player is effectively out of the game for 21 days. This has real merit.
Rugby opening day last weekend resulted in high scoring from Old Boys and Athletic Marist and an entertaining performance between Maheno and Kurow. It may have been due to opening day collywobbles.
No match liaison officer was publicly named at the Stadium on Saturday, so supporters were kept in the dark over team or number changes making the provided programme far from accurate. That, combined with the lack of a Public Address system, meant that point scorers faced a bit of a lottery at that venue. At the Maheno Domain there was no such problem I believe, but at Weston no programme was available for supporters.