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Take the money and run – Warren Gatland embraces Qatar investment in rugby

18 Jun 2024 2 minute read
Doha, capital of Qatar.
Photo by Gustav Brandt from Pixabay

Warren Gatland believes external financial support is vital in rugby union as Wales prepare for a Qatar Airways Cup clash against South Africa at Twickenham.

Gatland’s comments come amid mounting speculation that Qatar is close to agreeing a lucrative eight-year deal that would see them host play-offs in World Rugby’s new Nations Championship international competition from 2026.

Qatar hosted the 2022 football World Cup and remains a major player in global sport while boxing and golf are among those to have seen Middle Eastern support elsewhere, particularly from Saudi Arabia.

‘What the game needs’

When Gatland was asked about potentially playing in Qatar two years from now and whether outside financial backing was good or if he had concerns, the Wales head coach said: “Take the money and run, that’s my approach. I think it is what the game needs.”

Gatland clarified that he does “care where the money comes from”, and added: “If there is a chance to look at external investment, it is widely done in football so I don’t see any difference or reason why rugby should not be looking at different opportunities.

“It has been done in golf as well. There has been a huge amount of strain, not just in Wales, but everywhere within the game in rugby in the last few years, post-Covid and the impact that has had.

“I definitely think there has been a reset, but having that investment externally could be a positive in terms of maybe growing the game globally as well.

“They (other sports) have been able to have that opportunity to have access to other streams of revenue that have not been readily available, with vast resources as well and looking to expand their interests.

“As long as we are smart in terms of how we approach that and there is an opportunity to invest and grow the game and put the money back into the game, I see it as a positive.”

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