I don't think anyone is doubting the well meant reasons. The question is the underlying logic.Morf wrote:It's easy to say from the fan side but if you were making the decision as a rugby administrator it's difficult to turn away from significantly greater income in the short to medium term.
Puts the union on a more solid footing, allows your more optimistic grassroots initiatives to be paid for, you're less concerned with future governments (and their approach to sport), foreseen BREXIT consequences are more easily accounted for etc and so on.
You may provide many good reasons against such a deal but it could be adopted for well-meaning reasons that aren't self-serving for those making it.
The assumption in your logic (and you see the same commentary coming out of Wales certainly) is that the unions operate in a closed system - revenues increase therefore more excess funding to put into grassroots and infrastructure. But they don't operate in a closed system. If English and French clubs take additional cash flow and pump up salaries and other running costs, that impacts Ireland becasue the IRFU now have to significantly increase costs in the professional game.
The experience with other sports is that the vast majority of additional cash flow goes to increased costs - not any increase in general investment. Football has been cited but that maybe isn't the best analogy as the FA didn't sign the deals - though the palying salaries as a % of revenue has increased significantly over the years. But cricket has seen a massive fall-off in participation in England.
I don't think the independence you mention is a given. In fact, as costs increase the sport becomes increasingly dependent on a fairly narrow revenue base (essentially subscription TV deals) - rugby in Australia is discovering what that feels like. And when CVC liquidiate - which they will - it is at a point where changing strategy is not an option.
I would rather there was a proper debate of the potential impacts rather than a top-line focus on just revenue. If the Union want to be on a secure footing then they need to think about the surplus - not revenue