Input your search keywords and press Enter.

National Rugby League scrambles for US$50 000

rugby picture 2

Old Georgians ready for a league match at Harare Sports Club. Picture: PHILLIMON MHLANGA

THE National Rugby League (NRL) is scrambling for a US$50 000 rescue package to try and save the sport, which has been finding the going tough due to financial difficulties. With half the games still to be played before the end of the season, the league has since failed to attract a sponsor.

The NRL was left without a title sponsor after Delta Beverages, who bankrolled the league for three years through its Lion Lager brand decided not to renew the sponsorship which expired at the end of last season. The NRL, however had been funding this year’s championship race but its coffers have since run dry.

Speaking to the Financial Gazette Sport yesterday, NRL president, Noddy Kanyangarara, said the package would be vital to the survival of clubs already under severe economic pressure. If sponsorship is secured, the money would be used to transport teams and officials to match venues as well as settle bills for ambulance services.

More funds would be required for the league’s semi finals and the final match of the season, while additional funding would be channeled towards advertising. Kanyangarara confirmed that the NRL had met one of the potential sponsors, NetOne on Tuesday to discuss the possibility of bailing out the premier rugby league from its financial quandary.

“Our budget for this season was US$330 000 but we have already gone half way through the season so we are basically looking for something between US$45 000 and US$50 000 which will see us through the season. Though, we are engaging with quite a number of potential sponsors, it appears NetOne are willing to rescue us. We had a meeting with them on Tuesday and hopefully something positive will come up today (Wednesday) when we meet again to make a decision.”

It was however not clear by the time of going to print whether or not NRL managed to secure the rescue package needed as Kanyangarara could not be reached on his mobile. The future of the league was in doubt after games last weekend were called off indefinitely after the league failed to secure sponsorship for the clubs. A fortnight ago, clubs funded themselves to fulfill fixtures. However, even if a sponsor comes on board this week, it appears no league games would be played this weekend as teams need time to prepare for fixtures.