Former NZR boss says parts of All Blacks' brand simply can't be sold - 'Some things are non-negotiable'

Former New Zealand Rugby boss David Moffett says clarity is key heading into tomorrow's annual general meeting if the rugby union wants to get the Silver Lake deal across the line.

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Moffett, who has been the head of NZR, NRL and Welsh Rugby Union in the past, said clarity with the unions is key to tomorrow's proceedings. Source: 1 NEWS

New Zealand’s 26 provincial unions will vote on a recommendation from NZR that it should bundle its commercial interests into a new entity and sell a 12.5 per cent stake in that entity to California-based Silver Lake Partners for $387.5 million tomorrow.

While 1 NEWS understands the deal will be met with a resounding yes from provinces, former NZR chief executive David Moffett said they should still be prepared to face questions about the deal - and rightly so.

"NZR is going to have to be super transparent with the regions and then down to the clubs who are ultimately the owners of the NZRU," Moffett told 1 NEWS this afternoon.

"They need to tell them everything about this deal, so that when it unfolds, and nobody has any misunderstanding about what the deal is."

Moffett said heading into tomorrow's meeting, he'd heard not many questions have been answered by NZR so far, including how much of the investment will be invested in grassroots rugby.

"I've heard a figure of as low as seven per cent," he said. 

"If that is the case then they need to be told that so they can vote on the facts."

Parts of All Blacks' brand can't be for sale - Moffett

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David Moffett helped the All Blacks sign with Adidas in 1999 but preserved the team's legacy - he hopes that repeats if NZR signs with Silver Lake. Source: 1 NEWS

Moffett also said NZR needed to clarify what Silver Lakes' investment would get them in return, given the US company isn't simply a benefactor in the deal.

With that clarity needs to be an emphasis also on what isn't part of the deal, much like what he did when NZR signed with global sports brand Adidas back in 1999 when Moffett was CEO.

"I'm on the record as having said some things are non-negotiable," he said. 

"When we did the Adidas deal, we said they couldn't have three stripes on the ABs jersey. There still isn't, it's sacrosanct. Some things are sacrosanct. Dell was a sponsor of the Ranfurly Shield - it doesn't have a sponsor, it's sacrosanct. Māori , and what they bring in the way of haka, tikanga - they are sacrosanct. 

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Murray Bolton said while Silver Lake could influence decisions with the deal, they won't be able to make things happen alone. Source: 1 Sport

"In my view they are not the same."

Moffett added there is a recent example of the All Blacks' brand being "diluted" by NZR with the renaming of the New Zealand men's sevens team to the All Blacks Sevens.

"The All Blacks are the biggest rugby brand in the world - everyone wants to see it," he said.

"But how can you achieve more value from the All Blackss without diluting the brand? We now have things like the sevens team being called All Blacks Sevens - a complete dilution of the best rugby team.

"When you have the American Sevens team beat the New Zealand Sevens team, it's "US beat the All Blacks'."

The former NZR boss added while it's a tough stance, he's simply a fan of the All Blacks at the end of the day who wants to see NZR get things right.

"I'm an Australian born in England, but I'm as fierce a protector of that All Black brand as anybody in this country," he said. 

"And I would hate to see that watered down in any way."