Rugby: Affiliation fees may be reintroduced

Affiliation fees are a standard feature in provincial unions around the country.

The Otago Rugby Football Union wants to bring back affiliation fees on club teams to help fund community rugby.

The levies would be imposed on teams at clubs from colts level up. Junior teams and secondary school sides would not be levied, and country clubs would be charged a set fee.

North Harbour chief executive Brett Hollister said his union had the fees, took them away and then reintroduced them in 2011.

He said the reality was the ''users'', the players, had to pay a bigger contribution. The affiliation fees covered ground charges, organising and running competitions, and other expenses.

It was never popular when a cost was imposed on players but a union had to live within its means, Hollister said.

Manawatu chief executive John Knowles said teams had each been charged $600 since 2006 and the fee was accepted by clubs.

Taranaki chief executive Neil Pennington said the fees had been around for a long time.

He said the amount of money paid - $200 for a premier club team, and $100 for a colts team - was not as much as the union gave back to the clubs and players. Bay of Plenty chief executive Mike Rogers said clubs in his province were charged $100 each and it was a fee to keep the connection between the clubs and the union.

Rugby Southland general manager Brian Hopley said the fees had been around for a long time and were accepted.

Hawkes Bay chief executive Mike Bishop said the fees had been around since ''Adam was a cowboy''. People accepted why they were imposed.

Counties-Manukau chief executive Andrew Maddock said it was common practice in most unions and there had been few grumblings about them.

Otago axed affiliation fees in 1998, but with cost pressure it wants to bring them back.

The issue will be discussed at the union's annual meeting on Monday night.

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