World Rugby chief executive Brett Gosper says he hopes continuing negotiations will result in the Australian media covering the World Cup and end an impasse over the terms and conditions of accreditation for the tournament which starts in September in England.
Earlier this week, Australian Associated Press (AAP) said it would not seek accreditation for the tournament because the sport’s world governing body’s terms “unreasonably limit editorialised video match highlights”.
The decision to not send journalists or photographers from AAP or its New Zealand operation NZN to Britain follows a similar stand taken by News Corp Australia and Fairfax Media in Australia.
AAP editor-in-chief Tony Gillies said “AAP is not prepared to sign away what it sees as fundamental editorial rights”.
Gosper, an Australian and son of former International Olympic Committee vice-president Kevan Gosper, said during a visit to the site of next year’s Olympics, where rugby sevens will make its debut, that “this is an ongoing conversation … we hope we can find a way that the media in Australia is officially associated with the (World Cup) event. We’ll keep working to that.”
The three Australian organisations have had issues with terms and conditions of covering the tournament in the past. Fairfax and News Corp didn’t seek credentials for the World Cup in New Zealand in 2011, but bought tickets for reporters and provided coverage of some matches. AAP was accredited.
Some international media threatened to boycott the 2007 World Cup in France before a resolution was reached with organisers only hours before kickoff in the opening match.
“The Australian media believe we’ve been too restrictive on the rights and images coming out,” Gosper said on Wednesday. “It does seem that the position in Australia is quite entrenched and they’re looking for very broad rights, which we can’t deliver given that we’re protecting those broadcasters who are paying large sums of money to make this event happen.
“There is quite a distance between us, unfortunately.”
Gosper said Australian media would be at the World Cup, but perhaps not in an “official” capacity.
“There will be coverage. This is not to say there will be a blackout on the event,” Gosper said. “It just means they’re not taking up their official accreditation.
“We’ve relaxed our position since 2011 and we’d hoped that would have been enough to make these organisations feel that we’ve gone in the right direction and made efforts in that way. At the moment, they’re not seeing it that way. Hopefully, in the time we’ve got left, there will be some narrowing of that distance.”