Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Argentina rugby takes giant leap towards professionalism

Photo: UAR Rodrigo Vergara
Patricio Albacete was a hero against Scotland in 2011 and
off the field in 2012 his criticisms helped the UAR greatly

On the field the 2012 rugby season was a mixed bag for Argentina while off it things were overall very good. For the first time outside of the World Cup the players were able to prepare properly for international duty with sufficient time together. But things were not perfect and Patricio Albacete was critical of the need for better facilities and conditions for the players. The 52 time capped secondrower made no secret of the need for the UAR to invest in a new training centre and better accomodation for the players from outside of Buenos Aires. 

His wish has been granted as following the controversy discussions have been the UAR acknowledging that Albacete´s requests were all justified. Now the UAR has decided to not only provide a new training centre and better acoomodation but also to increase the salaries of the players to almost US$100,000. In Argentine terms this is astronomical as it amounts to roughly AR$500,000 in a country in which the GDP per capita in 2012 was around US$18,000.

The greater payment will go to players involved in playing for Argentina who are both based in the country and abroad. It is a further step towards encouraging players to return home to play in Argentina and is just the boost that Agustín Pichot needs in his campaign to have Argentina enter Super Rugby. The chances of the next generation of Pichot´s and Contepomi´s being encouraged to stay in Argentina will now be greater given that they will be afforded significantly better training facilities and remuneration.  

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