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Premiership Rugby ‘on track’ for deal to change face of the domestic game

PRL chief executive Mark McCafferty indicated that the deal was so close it might not even require another formal meeting.

PRL chairman Ian Ritchie says a lucrative investment deal is close (Paul Harding/PA)
PRL chairman Ian Ritchie says a lucrative investment deal is close (Paul Harding/PA)

Premiership Rugby chairman Ian Ritchie says a prospective nine-figure deal with a private equity firm which will change the face of the domestic game “remains on track”.

Ritchie had been expected to announce the completion of the £230million deal – widely reported to be with CVC Capital Partners – following Tuesday’s fourth meeting in recent months.

But instead the top-flight clubs will have to wait a little longer for the
financial boost which will earn them around £18m each in exchange for CVC becoming the PRL’s partners.

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Saracens and Wasps are among the top-flight clubs set for a financial boost (Victoria Jones/PA)

Ritchie said: “We had a good PRL board meeting and there remains a unanimity about our approach and our desire to enter into (this deal).

“We remain on track with our objectives. These discussions are inevitably
complex but we have had a good meeting today and we remain with that shared objective.”

PRL chief executive Mark McCafferty indicated that the deal was so close it might not even require another formal meeting before the biggest investment in the history of the game can be announced.

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PRL chief executive Mark McCafferty is excited about the new deal (Simon Cooper/PA)

Officials hope it will transform the domestic competition, leading to a much greater strength in depth and more opportunities for the smaller clubs to challenge for silverware.

Under the PRL’s existing rules, the current salary cap level remains at £7m irrespective of the prospective investment levels, meaning a bigger initial benefit to those clubs that currently spend less.

Other clubs are expected to use the windfall to focus on revamping their current facilities, including training pitches and even hotels.

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Exeter Chiefs are considering building a hotel (Nigel French/PA)

McCafferty said: “I wouldn’t say there were sticking points, it’s more that these are not straightforward negotiations because they have got a number of different angles to them.

“With the collective will around the table today, we can find the results to those remaining few items.

“It will be a landmark moment if we can get there, which will usher in a new era for the game going into next year, and that will allow the clubs to make the next big investment in the game.”

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