'It's not England's duty to fund Fiji,' claims RFU chief Ian Ritchie

Ian Ritchie has sought to defend the RFU after the governing body rejected Fiji's request for £150,000 of the £10m revenue that is expected to be generated from Saturday’s game

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The Independent Online

RFU chief executive Ian Ritchie has hit back at claims England have left Fiji short-changed ahead of Saturday’s clash at Twickenham, claiming “It is not England’s responsibility to help fund world rugby.”

Ritchie sought to defend the governing body after it emerged England’s chiefs had rejected the visitor’s request for £150,000 of the £10m revenue that is expected to be generated from Saturday’s game.

The RFU has instead pledged to give £75,000 as a gesture of goodwill.

Host nations are not obliged to share any revenue with their opponents, but Fiji feel they deserve more of a cut because England have not played in Suva since 1991.

The South Pacific players are set to earn just £400 each for Saturday’s sold-out Test match, in contrast to the £22,000 that each of England’s players will take home.

But Ritchie has insisted that England have “no obligation to do anything”.

“This was a conservation I had with Fiji back in May-June,” the chief executive said. “We have absolutely no obligation to do anything, but we had discussions on an appropriate contribution and we agreed to it.

“I had a note from them saying, ‘We are delighted. Thank you very much for the kind contribution.’

“Primarily, funding of Fiji rugby is a matter for themselves and Word Rugby. I don’t know what other unions do or don’t do. Did Ireland pay Canada anything last weekend? The World Cup held here last year generated a vast amount for World Rugby to distribute to these other nations.”

Last year the ex-Fiji RU chief executive Radrodro Tabualevu said: “When I went to Europe with the Fiji team, I was taken aback when I realised we didn’t get a share of the gate takings. If the mission is to grow the game globally, we’d like to think we have a special part to play.”

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