Pro12 will not copy English & French rugby - Martin Anayi

Pro12 players at the 2016-17 season launch in Dublin
Pro12 players at the 2016-17 season launch in Dublin

The head of the Pro12 believes the competition will have a bright future without following the "unsustainable" English and French business models.

However, Martin Anayi has stressed the need for an improved domestic television deal to increase money coming into the competition.

"We have got to do something about our revenues," Anayi told BBC Radio 5 live.

"But we don't think we have to chase after a model that is in our minds unsustainable."

Anayi added: "The tournament here is growing, we are going to improve year on year so when we go back to the TV market we are going to ask for a higher number.

"But we have to give them some results, and that's what we intend to do."

The Pro12 is made up of four teams from each of Ireland and Wales with two more apiece from Scotland and Italy.

Ireland's provinces are funded by their governing body, as are Scotland's two sides - Edinburgh and Glasgow Warriors.

Martin Anayi
Martin Anayi was appointed managing director of the Pro12 in August 2015

Wales' regions are autonomous, and receive competition and broadcasting money via the Welsh Rugby Union, who dual-contract some of the nation's home-based players and pay 60% of their wages.

There is not the same level of private investment compared to the English Premiership and French Top 14, who also benefit from more lucrative TV deals.

This has led to a gap in wealth and resources between the leagues, which was reflected in the 2015-16 Champions Cup, when no Pro12 side reached the quarter-finals.

"The difference comes in the very wealthy backers over-funding," Anayi added.

"We don't really want a model that copies [the English and French], because we want to be here in 10 or 20 years time.

"I don't think it is sustainable. You look at Biarritz and clubs who have overspent in France regardless of whether they have a 98 million euro deal from Canal Plus," Anayi continued.

"That wealthy benefactor model is only as good as that wealthy benefactor wanting to be there and carry on spending.

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"We don't see that as the be all and end all of rugby generally. The market forces do not allow for the kind of spend they are spending.

"No matter how much money comes into those clubs they will spend it on higher wages. We don't think that is the right model."

However, Anayi is confident club rugby globally is on an upward curve, and feels the Pro12 is well placed to capitalise on this growth.

The league has held talks about expanding into the American market, which Anayi describes as a "huge primary market" with "phenomenal numbers".

"We aren't going to be able to rely on one big domestic TV deal, because we purely don't have the same chimneystacks as in England and France," Anayi added.

"So we have to look at new primary markets, make sure we deliver full attendances, and do the things we can do to make a change.

"If we can put 10% growth on each of our clubs, suddenly the requirement for centralised funding becomes manageable. So that's our plan."

Hear the full interview with Martin Anayi on 5 live Sport from 19:30 BST on Tuesday, 30 August

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