Ante up

  • 2002-10-24
This is an open letter to the Estonian minister for sports and to the Tallinn City Council.

Why is rugby so ill served by government in Estonia? I am reminded of the old parable: "For the sake of a nail the shoe was lost. For the sake of a shoe the horse was lost. For the sake of a horse the battle was lost and for losing the battle the kingdom was lost."

At the moment, I understand, Estonian rugby is getting no financial support from official sources. It is being kept alive by initiatives created by myself and others like me in the United Kingdom. But these cannot go on forever and it is time for the Estonian authorities to "put some money in the pot."

This is not just handing out the begging bowl. It is a sound commercial investment. Not to invest will mean a lucrative income source from rugby tourism will dry up. From the first rugby tourists like my rugby club, touring has developed into a mini-industry. For the 2003 season John Slade has booked 1,000 tourists from 24 clubs to come to Estonia. In terms of trading for Estonia this amounts to the following: Air fare, 4 million kroons; hotel rooms 1.2 million kroons (255,600 euros); buses, 72, 000 kroons; meals, 288,000 kroons; liquid refreshments, 480,000 kroons.

This comes to a massive total of 6.04 million kroons.

If you don't help with providing the infrastructure for Estonian rugby, the game in Estonia will die and that will mean that 6 million kroons of income for Estonia will go down the drain.

The Estonian Rugby Federation needs you to invest 30,000 kroons each year to pay for the lease of its grounds. It needs a one-off payment of 25,000 kroons to install hot water for its showers.

I would estimate that the above 6 million kroons would generate 20 percent gross profit. This amounts to 1.25 million kroons on which you will, no doubt, levy taxes which will produce, say, 250,000 kroons. If you donate 55,000 kroons to the Estonian Rugby Federation, it will still leave you with nearly 200,000 kroons profit. If I got that return on any of my investments, I would think I had gone to heaven.

May I remind you, if you don't provide the basic requirements for rugby, it will die out and you will be the biggest losers! You have been warned.

With my kind regards and best wishes and we look forward to you being in the EU in two years' time.

Yours faithfully,
John Kidson
Patron of the Estonian
Rugby Federation