Fiji rugby coach backs sharing gate money to help tier 2s

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"People will always come and watch Fiji because they know they will see exciting rugby." (Photo: Samoa Observer)

DUBLIN (AP) — Fiji coach John McKee wants global rugby administrators to force through a gate-sharing revenue model to help tier two nations like his thrive.

The Samoa Rugby Union's bankruptcy announcement last week rippled through the sport, and McKee advocates for change.

He believes host unions should pay visiting sides an appearance fee to ensure wider benefits from the sell-out crowds such as on Saturday, when 51,000 will pack Lansdowne Road to watch Ireland play Fiji.

"When you look at the regulations of the game, it's almost as though they were formulated back in the amateurism days, and I don't think they've really moved on into the professional era for the tier two nations," McKee says.

"The big countries, there's a lot of reciprocal rights, and a lot of money is generated through broadcasting rights. We don't have any broadcasting rights.

"I understand the unions up here have costs as well, and they get a lot of their income out of these gates.

"But there needs to be some move there somewhere, where the host pays the visiting team some sort of an appearance fee.

"The stadium's sold out here tomorrow, the Pacific teams are always a big draw card, and the northern unions like playing them because the Pacific Islands teams are so entertaining.

"People will always come and watch Fiji because they know they will see exciting rugby."

Ireland has a 3-0 record against Fiji, all in Dublin. Ireland has never played Fiji in Fiji.

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